John Small

John Small

John teaches on our BA (Hons) Interior Design course and across our MA courses. John joined the staff of the university in 2019. Initially involved with the MA Course and then with the Interior Design Department. He continue to works in both departments. He received his MA from the Royal College of Art in 1984. After working, as a designer in the USA and Italy, returned to the UK to work for the architectural practice, Foster + Partners, with a role that included working on interiors and industrial design. Became Design Director for Steelcase, a major manufacturer of office furniture, for Europe in 2000. Established Studio Klein, a multi-discipline design consultancy, in 2018.

 I started my career as a teacher, in Inner London, at secondary level. I had been drawing and making objects in my spare time. I decided to leave teaching and to retrain as a designer. I was very fortunate to win several travel scholarships, both as an undergraduate and during my masters course. That allowed me to travel to the USA and to Italy, where later I was fortunate to be able to work. Returning to the UK I began a 25 year working relationship at Foster + Partners. I was very fortunate to work on the interiors of several major architectural projects that included Stansted Airport and The New German Parliament Building in Berlin. My interest in mass production techniques, as a designer, also meant that I worked on a very wide range of products from furniture and lighting to industrial roof lights.

I never lost my interest in education giving talks at various universities and institutions. During my time at F+P I also designed numerous exhibitions on the practices work.

In 2000 I was approached to take up the position of Design Director for Steelcase working out of two studios in Strasbourg and Munich. My final responsibility was to deliver the conversion of three buildings, in Munich, that became the Steelcase Learning and Innovation Centre.

I established my own design consultancy, outside Norwich, in 2018.

Outputs from research and practice:

  • 2019 – ongoing The Island Project, Objects from a Rural Landscape – in development.
  • 2019 – ongoing Co-design and development of my own Studio/living Space


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