My name is Colin Mackenzie, and most people would describe me as an interior designer, which is what I am by training, but I would call myself a three dimensional designer as I do not feel bound by interior spaces. I have always had a passion for Architecture and Design and I have travelled to many European cities and locations to see the influences that have inspired generations of architects,historians and designers. My father was a signwriter in Central Scotland, and some of my early years were spent with him at his work and occasionally I would be involved in producing art work with him, so I was always drawing and visualising and initially I wanted to go to art college to study drawing and painting, but once I arrived at Edinburgh College of Art in 1976, I soon realised that my future prospects lay within the School of Design. I seemed to thrive on solving spatial design problems for buildings and interior spaces.
I qualified as a designer from Edinburgh College of Art in the summer of 1979 at the age of 22 and following a Travelling Scholarship after graduation, I began my career as a retail designer with a company called Store Design Limited in Fife, Scotland. Prior to this employment, I was very keen to go off to London, where I was offered employment with Howard Sant Partnership, but realised that I may not survive on the annual salary offered at that point. My salary in Fife was the same but my I thought that my earnings would go further.
Since then, I have always been based in Scotland and I have worked for and with a wide range of design companies over a career spanning 25 years. Over this design career, I have worked for design consultants, architects, space planning consultants as well as working as an independent designer under freelance contracts including working as a self employed design consultant. The majority of my design career was based on commercial interior design working on projects from offices, retail oulets, cruise ships and ferries, exhibitions and museum projects, but I have also been involved in design and build projects for houses and building conversions.
The most satisfying projects were the ones where I was directly involved with the end–user client, from the start of a project, which enabled my skills in project design, development and implementation to be brought to the fore. As a designer, the experience of dealing with design briefs directly with clients and the on-site project management elements of my skills were the most rewarding parts of my job. Feedback from my clients has been generally good.
I have been a design lecturer at Adam Smith College since 1996, initially on part-time contracts, but I am currently a Curriculum Head and Design Lecturer for 3D Design and Interiors, teaching to a wide range of students at HND level and National Qualification level. My job involves me in the organisation and delivery of design oriented courses which includes a wide range of specific skills, such as interviewing and monitoring the progression of students and their articulation to Higher Education Universities including Dundee University. Some of my former students are now studying 3D Environmental Design at Duncan of Jordanstone Art College, as well as ECA and Glasgow Caledonian University.
The opportunity to study a Masters of Design on a part-time basis over two years, through CPD, Continued Professional Development, partly funded by my employer, has opened up a new approach for me to update and re –engage with my design skills. My reasons for undertaking such a challenge are based on the fact that my original design qualification was not a degree, and I was at a stage in my educational job, that I felt it necessary to develop new ways and methods of working which will enable me to deliver a better product and new design opportunities to my students at Adam Smith College and perhaps open up design consultancy work for myself.
Studying on a Postgraduate Masters of Design has been established to provide me, as an individual, with a personal development opportunity, which I know will be very challenging in terms of academic standards I hope that the progression journey will enable me to become a more professional designer and give me with new, transferable skills, which will be of great use to me in the remainder of my design career, as an educator and design consultant. I feel I will benefit from the experience and so will my employer and my student groups and hopefully, the staff I work with.