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2012 Interior Motives School League Report

Thu, 27 Sep 2012

In addition to showcasing the talent of student designers, the 2012 Interior Motives Design Awards acknowledged for the first time the achievements of the schools that nurtured them with its inaugural ‘Most Successful School' award. After a close-run battle with Italy's Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) that was eventually decided by just a single point, the award went to London's Royal College of Art.

This one-off award for the RCA is backed up by CDN's league table of school success over the past five years, which has now been updated to include the results from the 2012 Interior Motives Design Awards. To compile it, points are given to the school for each student who reaches the shortlist, and a larger number of points awarded for a category win. The results for the top 10 design schools are shown here.

At launch, the league contained the results for 2007-11 series of competitions, so this update also shows movement up or down one year on. (See the end of this article for the methodology used in compiling the league).

CDN Interior Motives Student Design Competition: 2008-12 overall results

Rank School Points Change in ranking places from 2007-2011 league 1. Royal College of Art 117 - 2. Coventry University 60 - 3. Umea Institute 43 +1 4. IED (Instituto Europeo di Design)  39 +2 5. Strate College 38 - 6. Hong-Ik University 27 -3 7. Pforzheim University 20 +1 8 Chang-Ang University 18 +2 8. CCS (College for Creative Studies) 18 -1 8. Seoul National University 18 - 11. Tsinghua University 16 +4

Source: judges' results for period 2008-2012

There is no change at the top with London's RCA a clear leader, perhaps as it should be given that its student intake is wholly post-graduate. Coventry University maintains its second-place ranking, with Strate College staying at fifth behind Umea and Italy's IED which has overtaken it.

The big mover downwards is South Korea's Hong-Ik, which failed to make the shortlist in this year's competition (fellow school Chung-Ang was one of the successes of 2012). The most upwardly mobile school is Beijing's Tsinghua University, which is just outside the global Top 10 for the first time and featured strongly in CDN's annual Design Awards China competition, which is dedicated to students studying in China.


As we said at its launch, creating a global league table of design school success risks controversy. For example, this year's table includes the results from 2008, the year prior to CDN taking the helm. At that point, results were gathered solely by our print magazine Interior Motives, which has a powerful but necessarily smaller reach than CDN.

Also, the magazine is published from London in English, and that might influence the geographical penetration of the competition. And, as its name says, the magazine is about interiors, though the competition has from its outset 10 years ago included exterior design, and indeed has challenged students on broader issues such as future mobility.

It's important to state that any local bias (CDN is also headquartered in London) is eliminated because the judges, who are anyway based around the world, see student entries identified simply by code numbers. The names and schools of the finalists are announced only after the judging is complete.

In favour of our league table is the fact that the CDN Interior Motives competition is truly global, as evidenced by the 40+ countries from which entrants have historically come. It is for students enrolled on a full-time design course, and so has a defined pool of entrants. And it has been consistent; the 2012 competition had the same structure as the inaugural contest back in 2003.


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By Euan Sey