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Work by Foo Sher Ming
Since graduating from ECA Foo Sher Ming has moved back to Malaysia where he has been implementing ideas on conservation and heritage, learned at ECA, into the start-up firm where he now works.
Foo Sher Ming's final thesis project has been featured in the Dezeen Virtual Design Festival 2020.

Why I choose to study Interior, Architectural and Spatial Design - MA

I chose to study at ECA for its reputation as a world-class university that is recognised for its educational practices. I was attracted to the university when I became aware of how my work would integrate with the historical urban context of the beautiful city of Edinburgh. ECA’s perspective of interior design deeply values the importance of building heritage and was vastly different to my undergraduate degree experience which promoted demolishing older, historical buildings and replacing them with new ones. I wanted my time at ECA to be a new chapter in my education and also a personal challenge for me to develop my skills as a designer.

The course structure presents a flexible choice of interdisciplinary modules, which furthered my knowledge, capabilities and design education outside of my speciality subject area; interior design. With such a high reputation, I knew that at ECA I would be guaranteed to learn from not only my lecturers but also from my peers who came from all around the world to study at ECA.

Why I choose to study an MA at ECA ?

I chose to study at ECA for its reputation as a world-class university that is recognised for its educational practices. I was attracted to the university when I became aware of how my work would integrate with the historical urban context of the beautiful city of Edinburgh. ECA’s perspective of interior design deeply values the importance of building heritage and was vastly different to my undergraduate degree experience which promoted demolishing older, historical buildings and replacing them with new ones. I wanted my time at ECA to be a new chapter in my education and also a personal challenge for me to develop my skills as a designer.

The course structure presents a flexible choice of interdisciplinary modules, which furthered my knowledge, capabilities and design education outside of my speciality subject area; interior design. With such a high reputation, I knew that at ECA I would be guaranteed to learn from not only my lecturers but also from my peers who came from all around the world to study at ECA.

My time at ECA

Our main design projects were conducted in three phases, spread across the three semesters, each focusing on an element of a historic building in Edinburgh. During the first semester, we learned about the various ways of interacting with a space with a focus on the human senses, the main foyer of the chosen building provided a setting for the design.

The second semester explored how we would utilize the building whilst following the strict regulations which come with designing within a historical building. The thesis project, undertaken in semester three, was the culmination of the knowledge that we had accumulated from the previous semesters. The project asked us to produce a design intervention that acts as a manifesto for ourselves as future interior designers.

I believe community is deeply valued in ECA’s teachings, as every review session was a collaborative experience between the class cohort. We were all involved in the development of each other's work, which I found was a holistic and fun approach to learning.

If I were given the opportunity to start again, I would be more daring in my design approach and try to be more adventurous during the earlier semesters. The course presents the opportunity to express our ideas, even if they are initially perceived as crazy.

"We were all involved in the development of each other's work, which I found was a holistic and fun approach to learning."

Foo Sher Ming

Interior, Architectural and Spatial Design - MA alumnus

My experiences since graduating

When I left the university it was quite a bizarre experience, entering into the world of employment amid a global pandemic. The final few months of my time at ECA were different, navigating online education. Nonetheless, I still cherish the memories that I had with my lecturers and friends that I’ve made throughout the months prior.

Since graduating from ECA, I still hold value to the respectful transformation of historical architecture and heritage that exists throughout the city which creates new meaningful conversations in interior design. I have embodied this idea in my career in Malaysia. ECA had taught me to express interior design in unique perspectives, whether be it through the human senses or human interaction through spatial design which has been invaluable for the progression of my career in the field.

I was ecstatic when I found out that my final thesis project was one of the few selected to be featured in the Dezeen Virtual Design Festival 2020. Not only that, I was able to present my experience and ideas to my juniors when I became a guest judge for their final year work. As of now, I am working in a small start-up interior design firm back in Malaysia, putting into practice all of the knowledge that I have gained that will ultimately make me a better interior designer and, hopefully, translate into my own practice in the future.

My advice for new and current students

The one piece of advice that I would give to someone starting in September would be to not be afraid to accept change in design and be willing to learn to explore new boundaries. Design is a constantly evolving process, a never-ending cascade of development of experimentation and feedback from others. So don’t constrain yourself to an endpoint, and be willing to accept criticisms because others may see ways to improve the design that you may have overlooked. That being said, remember to always have fun in the process as well.

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