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Welcome to the department of Furniture

The main campus of Bucks New University is based in High Wycombe, formally the chair and furniture making capital of the UK and it is this history which builds the solid foundation for the prestigious furniture department. We offer general and specialist courses in furniture design, conservation, restoration, wood carving, cabinet making, kitchen design, upholstery, interior design and decoration, product design and more.

All furniture courses and programmes are a part of the National School of Furniture (NSF) which is a unique partnership between Bucks New University and Oxford & Cherwell Valley College and has the largest number of dedicated furniture design, craft, conservation, restoration and furniture history specialists in the UK. 

Students benefit from our close industry links through speakers and live projects, enabling them to experience real commercial contexts of design whilst developing their own expertise and vision. The NSF has high profile major commercial partners in design, manufacture and retail.

Watch the National School of Furniture launch event video which explains the full details of this exclusive partnership and collaboration.  

Take a look below at our talented student exhibitions at New Designers 2012:

 

Many of our students pursue postgraduate options in our MA art and design programmes and take part in impressive exhibitions on and off campus. Have a look at our MA End of Year Show virtual tour to discover the potential of our talented MA students from our 2012 exhibition.

Our students enjoy a friendly, supportive and innovative teaching environment, and benefit from an approach to teaching that prioritises the importance of ‘hands-on’ experience. We are committed to developing students’ overall employability, creativity, confidence and competencies. Our graduates leave with the ability to innovate within the creative industries.

Did you know?

• Bucks New University is world renowned for its art design and craft programmes and was ranked in the top 30 UK universities for art and design in The Guardian’s 2012 University Guide.
• We have been delivering expert craft, art and design education in this area for over 110 years.
• The National School of Furniture (NSF) is a unique partnership between Bucks New University and Oxford & Cherwell Valley College and has the largest number of dedicated furniture design, craft, conservation, restoration and furniture history specialists in the UK.
• Each year we showcase creative students’ work publically at our end of year shows and in various venues in London throughout the year.
• 78 per cent of furniture undergraduates and over 95 per cent of furniture postgraduates secure employment on graduation.
• Our tutors include well-known designers such as Alex Hellum and Carl Clerkin together with current industry experts.
• Our Textiles and Surface Design students regularly win awards, exhibit their work with international partners and work on live projects with renowned companies; recent successes include winning Texprint Awards 2011, Bradford Textiles Knitted Swatch Category 2011 and 2012; and the Hand and Lock Embroidery Awards 2011 student prize.
• We have launched our own conservatation business known as Bucks Conservation, where students and graduates work on site in stately homes and private collections.

Industry connections

Students benefit from our close industry links through speakers and live projects, enabling them to experience real commercial contexts of design whilst developing their own expertise and vision. Recent projects have included work with Vitra, M&S, Hands of Wycombe, Ercol, John Lewis, Isokon, and Waddesdon Manor. Endorsed by the Furniture Makers Company, the Association of Master Upholsterers and the British Contract Furnishing Association, the NSF has high profile major commercial partners in design, manufacture and retail. Their expertise and advice is used to ensure that we monitor and update both the content of our courses and develop new courses where industry identifies a need for further up skilling of the workforce.

Our links with industry employers are second to none, with placement opportunities, live projects and visits to and from industry to enrich your studies. You will be taught by tutors who are research active and have published and exhibited nationally and in many cases internationally. Success in national and international competitions and our record of student employment demonstrates our ability to deliver education to the highest level.

Awards and First-rate facilities

Our students regularly pick up prestigious awards within the furniture industry at both a national and international level. Some of their recent successes include;

Habitat Design Award - 2011
New Designers Best In Show - 2011
Student Furniture Designer of the Year - 2011-2012
Furniture Show Most Promising New Designer – 2012

Whatever subject you are studying, you can rely on excellent facilities at Bucks. Our workshops feature industry-standard equipment, with an excellent range of traditional and state-of-the-art resources. This unique environment enables students to explore new and traditional craft-based skills and technologies in the areas of printmaking, wood, metal, fine metals, ceramics, mould-making and restoration. Our famous Red Shed facilities include a range of modern and traditional printing as well as dyeing facilities. We also have workshops with dedicated study spaces and areas for public exhibitions of student work.

Technologies range from traditional to digital with dedicated computer suites, laser cutter, rapid prototyping and 3D scanning facilities.

Research and teaching excellence

At Bucks, you will be part of a growing and vibrant community which includes Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) associates, PhD and MPhil research students, as well as students from our related master’s courses in art and design practice, with specialist areas across the school and our mechanical engineering design and engineering management master’s courses.

We are the proud home of The High Wycombe Furniture Archive, founded on the expertise, knowledge and passion of people who believe in the saving and recording of rare archival material about the industry from around the UK and beyond. As an educational resource this provides an endlessly fascinating, useful and growing bank of information about furniture.

Our expertise in practice-based research means that you will be taught by tutors who have doctorates in their subject areas and published outcomes. To find out more about our research activities see bucks.ac.uk/research.