exterior model of a building and parking lot

Spatial Experience Design

Spatial Experience Design focuses on the total experience of the built environment from the first moment of encounter to the last moment of interaction. We look at spatial design through eyes of scenography, “the staging of spaces”.

Scenography enhances our ability to make meaningful connections in all that we design. Working from strong narrative content, brand focus and social need, we shape total sensorial experiences in multiple scales, which reflex, engage and interact with our users. We pursue a global sense of industry-driven design that investigates every aspect of where we live, work and play. Our students look beyond the single object, moment or place. They seek to make an impact designing projects ranging from branded retail, theme-driven dining to new hospitality, exhibition and residential design. Our emphasis on spatial experiences produces leaders in the fields of architecture, interiors, furniture, lighting and interior component design. Our students gain global awareness through Designmatters social impact projects, Transdisciplinary Studio courses, International Study Abroad programs and Sponsored Projects classes with industry-leading companies and organizations. All of which, amounts to a rich and diverse educational experience for students aspiring to be influential and impactful spatial designers. It is the mission of our department to design with empathy, sensitivity, equity, diversity and inclusion. We support spatial justice and are always looking to better understand how the creative process can make positive change in the world.

ArtCenter's Spatial Experience Design program combines conceptual thinking with rigorous coursework, hands-on experiences with a professional focus. Our design approach is human centered with a deep understanding of how to frame projects from the inside out. With a strong industry focus, we Investigate projects with rich conceptual rigor linked to a keen awareness of materials and manufacturing standards. Our process of: design research, meaningful conclusions, the defining of design potential, the creation of a strong narrative design story and innovative design exploration, puts us at the forefront of spatial design development and innovation.


In Spring 2022, ArtCenter's Environmental Design program will change its name and begin offering a bachelor's degree in Spatial Experience Design and, in Fall 2022, master's degrees in Spatial Experience Design and Furniture, Lighting and Fixtures Design. The name change not only recognizes shifts in the industry but also people's understanding of the spaces we inhabit and how those spaces contribute to our overall wellbeing. Students who enroll in the undergraduate program prior to Spring 2022 will still receive a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design. Similarly, students who enroll in the graduate program prior to Fall 2022 will still receive a master’s degree in Environmental Design.

Student Gallery

Spatial Experience Design

Featured Course

In Illumination, students explore the profound and magical qualities of light.

Sponsored Projects

Sponsored Projects bring industry professionals into the classroom

The biggest difference between environmental design and architecture is that in architecture you design from the outside in and we design from the inside out.

David MocarskiChair, Spatial Experience Design
Hillside campus bridge

Environmental Design and issues of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Take the next step toward a career in spatial experience design.