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Tom working in our studios

7 June 2018

From decorating festivals to innovating remembrance: Tom Noonan's design education experiences

Degree Show Spotlight Series

Last summer, work by Interior Design student Tom Noonan took centre stage in the Festival Square pavilion at Manchester International Festival. Now, he is exhibiting at our Degree Show, and shared with us the inspiration and experiences behind his final project. 

Tom is part of our Degree Show Spotlight Series that highlights the work of some of the talented students taking part in the Manchester School of Art Degree Show. Want to hear from more students behind the show? Read our previous piece about Animation student Ines Peres

What is the project that you’ve been creating for the Degree Show?

For my final major project, I have designed a modern, non-religious funeral space. The idea was planted at the funeral of a loved one, I was struck with the thought that our funerals are not aesthetically and spiritually relevant to 21st century British society.

I feel funerals should fundamentally be about remembering the memories of the deceased, which I believe is currently lost, therefore I set out to change this!

The project in its early stages relied heavily on primary research, getting a feel for society’s needs and wants from a secular funeral space, from these opinions I began a rigorous design process to be able to convey the results within the design.

What you had any chance to learn from industry insiders during your Degree?

We have had lots of industry involvement throughout our time on the course, particularly during the cross-course collaborative projects as part of the Unit X module.

My favourite and most pivotal industry-set brief came in second year, when as part of a Unit X group project, I worked with the bi-annual Manchester International Festival (MIF).  We worked closely with MIF and the Manchester design studio OH OK Ltd to design and later produce furniture, urban way-finding and branding elements to be used in the Festival. My team installation design, which was made using colourful, transparent PVC strips, won the pitch!

As a result, we were further tasked with the production and installation of the piece, which took central stage inside the Festival pavilion for two weeks over the Summer!

What do you hope to do next after graduating?

From my time on the course at Manchester School of Art, I am very excited about a future career within interior design. I will be hoping to find a junior position in a studio in Manchester or Leeds, where I can put all the skills I’ve learnt during my degree to practice.

See Tom's work at the Manchester School of Art Degree Show from 9-20 June. 

You can find out more about his work on his website, Instagram and LinkedIn account.