Course Syllabus

Furniture Design Studio (May 21 – July 5)

DIS Logo


Semester & Location:

Summer 2024 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 6 credits

Major Disciplines:

Architecture, Design, Industrial Design


Enrollment in a professional school or department of architecture or design. Two spatial design studios at university level. Experience with stationary power tools and hand tools.

Faculty Members:

Erling Christoffersen and Peter Johansen (current students please reach out to faculty via Canvas Inbox)

Workshop Assistants:

Alberte Svendsen, Mikkel Søe, Kathrine Damgaard Pedersen

Time & Place:

For times see calendar below - V10.A41/Holmbladsgade 70B during workshop period

Course Description

Scandinavian furniture design has a deep history of considering people, culture, and society in design development. The course gives you the opportunity to explore this particular relationship and to grow your individual design capabilities through studio assignments, lectures, Field Studies, and workshop activity producing your own furniture prototype.

This intense summer session trains you in the full design process of a piece of furniture, normally a chair. You will start with conceptual development and production of working drawings, and end with the building of a full-scale prototype, as well as the exhibition of your work.

Learning Objectives

The primary objective of this design studio is to produce a piece of furniture which draws inspiration from its Scandinavian context and achieves maximum utility with the minimum material. 

Through this process, students develop their capabilities in:

  • Development and refinement of design concepts
  • Production of sketches as well as working drawings
  • Construction of a full-scale prototype
  • Craftsmanship in different materials
  • Communication through exhibition and presentation


Erling Christoffersen
Cabinetmaker (1974), Architect, M.A.A. (Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, 1982). Own office since 1979. Professor, School of Architecture (1986-89). Professor, Denmarks Designskole (1989-2005). Distinguished Visiting Professor at University of Washington. With DIS since 1998.

Approach to Teaching

Studio instruction is a combination of one-on-one tutoring and discussions in studio and in the workshop. The studios are organized as vertical studios, meaning that students of different levels will be taught within the same studio. Expectations will therefore relate to each individual student and their respective level of experience.

Field Studies and Study Tours

The field studies and study tours of the Architecture and Design Program at DIS form an integral part of the learning process. We travel to places to learn through experience and through analysis. We travel to places to understand and ultimately, to become better architects and designers.

Field Studies
During the summer you will go on faculty led field studies to sites relevant for your studio assignment. These field studies will allow you to study and analyze architecture in and around Copenhagen and are integral to your individual design development as well as to the advancement of your studio project.

Long Study Tour
The week-long study tour will expand your frame of personal experience from Copenhagen to include sites in Sweden and Denmark. This is an opportunity to compare what you have studied thus far in Denmark with a larger Scandinavian context and in turn with your previous experiences from your home country. Visits will be to both contemporary and historical sites to provide background for understanding the design context you experience today.

Expectations of the Students

Students are expected to be fully engaged in the studio discourse, be prepared for each individual desk critique and workshop session and to invest time outside of studio hours developing projects. Students must check DIS Canvas daily. The most current schedule, including last-minute changes, will be maintained here. Readings and other relevant course material will be posted here for downloading. 


The assignment is to design and build an object for sitting made from a given amount of material provided by DIS. The structure of the furniture will take its cue primarily from wood and/or wood based materials but other materials can be included as well. Any additional materials are at the student’s own cost. The finished piece cannot exceed 80 x 80 x 80 cm. The program for the furniture is individual, decided by the student and guided by the faculty. It is possible to work conceptually on a new piece of furniture or to re-interpret a well-known type of furniture based on students` individual analysis and design development. No matter what the starting point is, the furniture must have a visual and structural clarity, and consequently express the main idea behind the design. The final presentation of the assignment - the object for sitting - must be accompanied by a presentation board illustrating the main ideas behind the design as well as the process and development of the design.

Submission of Assignments

All presentation material must be supplemented with a digital submission of the presentation board. This requirement is necessary for grading and archival purposes for DIS, as well as documentation you will need for your own portfolio. Submission guidelines will be posted on DIS Canvas prior to deadline.

Evaluation & Grading

Evaluation is based on daily work in studio and on final presentations. Assignments are generally presented to a panel of jurors including the student’s own instructor. Grades are given by the instructor in accordance with other jurors. To be eligible for a passing grade, you must complete all assigned work.



Assignment - Process in studio and workshop


Assignment - Presentation


Studio Process - Evaluation in studio is based on the following:

Approach: Student is motivated, positive, engaged in the project and in all studio activities, attending and prepared for every session in studio, inquisitive, self-critical, receptive to input from both faculty and fellow students.

Production: Student is diligent, productive, continuously engaged in sketching, prototyping, modelmaking, and other forms of physical/ digital design development, to support the progress of the project and the dialogue with faculty.

Innovation: Student is creative and experimenting, continuously willing to push the project forward, exploring different design opportunities, oriented towards generating unique design solutions.

Final Presentation - Evaluation is based on completion of design goals agreed upon by student and studio faculty, and the criteria presented below:

Completeness: Student presents the required deliverables - well- crafted drawings, models and other visual presentation material - to convincingly communicate the scope and content of the project in a meaningful and creative manner.

Delivery: Student orally presents the project in a well-prepared and organized way, communicating the project intentions in a professional manner and engaging in a receptive and reflective dialogue with critics.

Design: Student presents a final product of high artistic quality that convincingly shows a conceptually clear and well-motivated design solution where the elements of the brief have been explored thoroughly and creatively.


Information on shipment to be issued shortly.


An open house exhibition is held at the end of the semester. Works from all Architecture, Graphic Design, Interior Architecture, and Urban Design studios, as well as from the Furniture Design in Scandinavia program are exhibited. Details issued in due time by your faculty and on Canvas.

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 

DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -

Course Summary:

Date Details Due