2013 Interior Motives School League Report
by CDN Team    04 Feb 2014
Most Successful School 2013 went to the College for Creative Studies. Click for larger images
Chris Bangle stands with the winners of the 2013 Interior Motives Design Awards
Best Ergonomics (Sponsored by Visteon) and Student Design of the Year ‘Audi O Concept' – Nir Siegel, Cherica Haye and Hanchul Lee (Royal College of Art, UK)
Best Use of Technology (Volkswagen) 'Split Vision' – Erik Evers, Umeå Institute of Design (Sweden)
Best Innovative Interior (Peugeot) ‘Kinectic' – Cyril Verbrugge & Arthur Guinet, Strate Collège (France)

With the launch of the 2014 Interior Motives Student Design Awards last week, design tutors around the world once again have the opportunity to shine a spotlight on their school's teaching excellence by propelling their school to the top of the Car Design News-Interior Motives Schools league. Encourage your students to submit their entries before the deadline of April 25th and you greatly increase your chance of joining the teaching elite in this year's top ten league table. For more info on the competition and how to enter, click here.

In order to compile a definitive league table of school performance, CDN uses results data from the last five years of the Interior Motives Student Design Awards. After a hard-fought contest with runner-up Strate College of Design of France at last year's event in Frankfurt, the title of Most Successful School 2013 went to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. As well as securing the American school one of the industry's most prestigious accolades, its superb showing in last year's competition promoted it two places higher up the 2009-2013 school leaderboard, into a creditable sixth place overall.

The complete table of top ten schools over this period - and their movement up or down compared to the previous 2008-2012 league - is shown below. (See the end of this article for the methodology used to compile it).

CDN Interior Motives Student Design Competition: 2009-13 overall results

Rank School Points Change in ranking places from 2008-2012 league
1 Royal College of Art  94 =
=2 IED (Istituto Europeo di Design 53 +4
=2 Coventry University  53 =
=2 Strate College 53 +3
5 Umeå Institute of Design 51  -2 
College for Creative Studies  38  +2 
Chang-Ang University  21  +1 
=8  University of Tehran  18  +4 
=8  Tsinghua University  18  +3 
10  Pforzheim University  18  -3 

Source: judges' results for period 2009-2013

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 but - after a fantastic performance in the 2013 contest from both colleges - now shares the runner-up spot with Italy's Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) and Strate College of France. Both schools jump significantly higher up the table: four places and three respectively.

Falling from third to fifth, but missing out on second by a margin of just two points, is Sweden's Umeå Institute of Design. Hot on its heels in sixth after winning the 2013 Most Successful School Award is the College for Creative Studies, which moves up two places. Korea's Chung-Ang University also climbs one spot to seventh, but the biggest gain of all is made by the University of Tehran in Iran. Combined with that of the Azad University of Tehran (which fails to make the top ten by a single place), its performance in this year's table cements the Iranian school system's phenomenal rise to prominence in recent years.

Another big winner in this year's league is Tsinghua University. Having already put in a strong showing in CDN's Design Awards China Competition - a contest open only to design schools based in China - earlier in the year, it jumped three more places to move into the top ten for the first time. An excellent showing by the Chinese college.


As we said at its launch in 2012, creating a global league table of design school success risks controversy. It could be argued that, as a magazine based in London and published in English, an Interior Motives competition is intrinsically UK-centric, or at least Euro-centric. And, as the name suggests, the magazine is about interiors, though the competition has from its outset 11 years ago included exterior design, and challenges students on issues such as future mobility.

In terms of impartiality, however, the contest is beyond reproach. Only a number is used to identify the entries viewed by the judges during the voting process, so the panel has no idea what name, school or nationality each project hails from. Only when the judging is complete does the panel find out whom it has voted for and what school they attended.

Another point in favor of our league table is the fact that the CDN Interior Motives competition is truly global, as evidenced by the 40-plus 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 2013 competition was structurally identical to the inaugural contest of 2003.

Winning index

The simple table of results is significant, but is not the whole picture. The overall league rewards the volume of entries that reach the shortlist, as well as the handful of winners.

To address this, CDN has also created a Winning Index. In compiling it, only the results of those students who become finalists in the Awards are included (there are typically just three finalists for each of the 8-10 awards categories). By dividing the points scored per school by the number of finalists who scored them, an index is created.

The results are somewhat different from the outright league table, and might be said to reflect the quality of teaching provided for the pool of incoming undergraduate talent.


Next Page >