Professor Alfonso Torino, Chair, Interior Design, Berkeley College

It is essential that interior design students know about the culture and history of a place and its people as well as the architecture itself. They should know the variety of world cultures and be able to apply this knowledge at the various phases of a design project. Interior designers should understand history and geography and have some confidence in their knowledge of the people and relevant area’s culture. This knowledge will clearly help in the development of design concepts, as well as in historic restorations and rehabilitations. Understanding diverse cultures will also help the designer understand our contemporary ethnic diversity, a reality on which we shall dwell and prosper.

St Peter's Basilica

St Peter’s Basilica

My sabbatical was taken during the Summer 16 term. The focus of my study was mainly in enhancing my historical and cultural knowledge of the central part of the Italic peninsula. I was able to travel in the major regions of central Italy visiting, documenting and studying the major historical and cultural landmarks of the areas. The regions I travelled were, Lazio, Umbria, Toscana and Campania. In Lazio, I spent most of the time in the city of Rome but I also was able to visit Rieti. In Umbria, I was in the medieval centers of Gubbio, Citta’ di Castello, Montone and Pietralunga all towns in the Province of Perugia. In Toscana, I was able to spent time mainly in Firenze, Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano which is located in the Province of Siena. In Campania, I visited Napoli, Herculaneum, the ancient Roman town buried in 79 A.D. by the eruption of the Vesuvius, the small medieval villages of Vallata , Bisaccia and Montella, all in the Province of Avellino.

Spiral staircase in Sistine chapel

Spiral staircase in the Sistine Chapel

While there, I was able to write an article that I’m in the process of publishing. The article discusses the importance of culture and history for the interior designer. It also highlights for students the fundamental aspects of studying these subjects in order to become a successful Interior designer. I was able to bring this valuable experience back into our department sharing the information with our students.

The article is located on our website at the following link: 

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About Berkeley College

Berkeley College, established in 1931, is a regionally accredited college providing excellence in teaching and learning through a student-focused approach to career education. Berkeley College offers Bachelor's and Associate's degrees, Certificate programs, and non-degree professional courses at campuses in New Jersey, New York, and through Berkeley College Online. A Master of Business Administration degree is offered in Woodland Park, NJ, and online. The college enrolls over 7,100 students (more than 440 international students, representing nearly 75 countries).