Designing from Behind the Camera: Creative interdisciplinarity in film, architecture and interior design



Architecture & Built Environment


  • multi-disciplinary education, design process


Architectural and Interior design are disciplines that are by nature interdisciplinary. Whether in dialogue with engineers, builders, lighting designers or furniture makers, the architect and interior designer is forced to think in more than one register. The same applies in the creative sphere. In their own creative endeavours, architects and interior designers have always drawn on the ideas, concepts, theories and practices of other disciplines. Both the practice and conceptualisation of architecture and interior design then are interdisciplinary.

In this paper the potential role film has as an educational tool in the fields of architecture and interior design will be discussed. We will show examples of set designs that teach us lessons of spatial composition, lighting, decoration and spatial layout. Our focus will be on how film can be used on a more theoretical level to teach students about spatial design theories and approaches.
In this context it will draw upon work done by the author with students of architecture and interior design in both the UK and Spain. In Part 1, it will show how students are able to analyse film and directorial techniques to understand how film directors look at / use space. In Part 2 it will go on to show how that understanding has been used by students in design workshops to discover and explore previously hidden possibilities in spatial layouts and arrangements.

Specifically, it is a paper on the relationship between film and spatial design. However, in a general sense, it is a paper about the potential of interdisciplinary design thinking in an educational context.

DEFSA conferences

DEFSA promotes relevant research with the focus on design + education through its biennial conferences, to promote professionalism, accountability and ethics in the education of young designers. Our next conference is a hybrid event. See above for details.

Critical skills endorsement

Professional Members in good standing can receive a certificate of membership, but DEFSA cannot provide confirmation or endorsement of skills whatsoever. DEFSA only confirm membership of DEFSA which is a NPO for Design Education in South Africa (