Elisava School of Design
Temporary Space Design Master’s Degree 2019/20
One Year

The Master’s Degree in Temporary Space Design (TSD) offers an in-depth exploration of the main temporary space formats (event, pop-up, public space intervention and exhibition) with the aim of providing students with a conceptual toolkit for dealing with all stages of design. The program establishes a firm connection between academic training and the practice of design/ construction, with the goal of broadening students’ understanding of the field, while developing their own specializations.

Degree Length
One year; Fall Intake.

Application Requirements
Complete online application
Portfolio (4 pages / 2MB size max; PDF)
Letter of motivation (1 page; PDF)
Curriculum Vitae (2 pages; PDF)
Official Bachelor’s Degree transcript
Passport scan (photo page; PDF)
EU privacy consent form

Application Deadline
May 1, 2019
Apps accepted after deadline as space permits

Program Dates
Early Sept 2019 – Early August 2020

Eligibility Requirements

Age: 18+

Academic: Completed Bachelor’s degree

*contact SAI if you don’t meet requirements

Undergraduate GPA:* 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale)

English Language:* Non-native English language speakers must submit IELTS: 5+, or proof of attending school in English for 3+ years.

Program Description
The main goal of the Master’s Degree in Temporary Space Design (TSD) is the comprehensive training of students in the field of temporary space design.

This training involves the acquisition of the following capacities:

  • The capacity for Creativity
  • The capacity for Strategic Thinking
  • The capacity for Research
  • The capacity for Multi-disciplinary work and Negotiation with the other agents in the design process
  • The capacity to Present and Communicate designs
  • The capacity to develop Material solutions for designs
  • The capacity to Construct design proposals

The thematic and methodological structure is organized to fulfill this primary objective, to ensure that students who successfully complete the Master’s Degree will acquire a high value-added professional profile specialized in the design of temporary spaces in all different formats.

In addition to postgraduate academic preparation, the Master’s Degree provides practical training through the actual construction of many of the design proposals, providing students with specialized professional experience that positions them very well in the labor market for temporary space design.

Student Profile
This degree is aimed at the following professionals: architects; interior designers; product designers; graphic designers; graduates in fine arts; and professionals with proven experience in related fields.

Due After Acceptance
After acceptance, students must submit an Apostille-Certified Bachelor’s Degree of University Diploma. The Hague Apostille (Apostille Convention) is a method of validating a public document for use outside of its origin country. In the United States the Competent Authorities designated to issue Apostilles are the Secretaries of States. Students wishing to enroll in graduate level coursework at Elisava must receive an Apostille on their degree from the state of the degree’s issuance.

The Master’s Degree in Temporary Space Design (TSD) is structured into two semesters. Two specific subject areas are addressed in each semester, so that a total of four subject areas are covered during the Master’s Degree.

Welcome session and general introduction to TSD, presentation of the directors’ and core teachers’ academic and professional profiles, informal meeting and networking.

Module 1: Thematic and Methodological Foundations
Unit 1.1 Introduction to Temporary Space Design
The aim of this unit is for students to acquire a general and cross-cutting knowledge of the different formats in temporary space design, through a seminar focused on their fundamental characteristics and the study of examples presented by the core professors and other leading practitioners in the field who will show their work and explain their production processes. Students will be asked to complete a series of exercises summarizing what they have learned.

Unit 1.2 Implementation Strategies
One of the characteristic features of temporary design projects is that they are built in spaces that are often already being used for other purposes. This is an advantage, but also a potential source of tension. The analysis and interpretation of existing environmental conditions is essential to the success of the proposal. How a design is implemented in its surroundings is decisive.

Based on the definition of the overall framework and the objectives determined in conjunction with the collaborating organization, this first unit is focused on developing an operative analysis and proposing a strategy for occupying the space.

Module 2: Event Design
Unit 2.1. Time, Process and Identity
Event design begins with the design of an action: the script, the actors involved, the timing, etc. The design of the space or the environment needs to be fully coordinated with the action itself, as in the case of set design.

When it comes to designing a temporary project for a commercial brand or an institution, interpreting the brand and creating an identity tailored to the particular temporary format is essential. One of the aims of this unit is to define the concepts we want to convey and to determine the criteria for the corporate/institutional identity we want to develop, through a workshop led by specialized professionals.

This unit will focus on the early stages of event design: the development of the conceptualization, content, and proposal for the strategic design of the space and the environment.

Unit 2.2 Project Development
The second unit is dedicated to developing the design concepts proposed in the previous unit. Designing the environmental conditions and managing them over time are the central factors involved in this format. In this case, the physical intervention in space is secondary and may sometimes even be limited to developing the infrastructure needed to create an environment.

The aim of this unit is to develop the detailed design with the help of professors in specialized workshops, with particular emphasis on lighting as a tool for generating environments.

Module 3: Designing Pop-Up Stores and Stands
Unit 3.1 Effects and Emotions
Working on materials and their ability to generate effects and create emotions is an essential aspect of pop-up design.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with direct working experience involving materials, through a practical workshop where students will develop and build an installation.

Unit 3.2 Material Systems and Project Development
The pop-up store or stand is the most object-based format of all the temporary formats we deal with in the Master’s Degree, and it provides the best opportunity for exploring material systems and building solutions through the creation of small-scale prototypes.

The aim of this unit is to approach detailed project development based on the study and proposal of material systems and an intensive use of model work.

Module 4: Thematic and Methodological Foundations
Unit 4.1 Temporary Interventions in Public Space and Exhibition Design
The aim of this unit is for students to acquire a general and cross-cutting knowledge of these formats, through a seminar focused on the fundamental characteristics of temporary space design and the study of examples presented by the core professors and other leading practitioners in the field who will show their work and explain their production processes. Students will be asked to complete a series of exercises summarizing what they have learned.

Unit 4.2 Mediation Systems in Design: Maps, Diagrams, Scenarios and Protocols
Temporary projects are usually developed in very complex environments, involving collaboration from professionals in different disciplines and incorporating dynamic factors (time, the circulation of people, changes in light, sound, etc.). Often, they must also manage a mix of different programs. When it comes to proposing and implementing effective design strategies, we need to develop mediation tools that help to relate and coordinate all these factors into a single interface. Mediation systems can be grouped into four basic categories: maps, diagrams, scenarios and protocols. This unit aims to help students become familiar with systems that mediate between the environment and the design. They will learn to create and use these systems through a seminar and practical exercises.

Module 5: Designing Temporary Interventions in Public Space
Unit 5.1 Location and Strategy
Temporary projects in public space likely have the greatest ability to influence a larger environment and population with the least amount of economic and material investment. Public space is also the most complex working environment. All kinds of morphological, environmental, social and aesthetic factors come together there. Many of these factors are dynamic systems that exist in a state of constant flux.

A strategic approach is of utmost importance in the case of temporary projects in public space, and it often begins with revealing unidentified potentials in the environment. This first unit focuses on recognizing the physical environment and proposing an intervention strategy.

Unit 5.2 Project Development
The second unit is dedicated to the specific development and implementation of the design strategies proposed in the previous unit. The aim is to formalize a specific detailed proposal with the help of the workshop director and specialized consultants.

Module 6: Exhibition Design
Unit 6.1 From Curating to Exhibition Design
Every exhibition begins with a curating process to pinpoint the subject matter, draft the script and define the content. The role of the designer is to implement the proposal in the space. Translating a written script into a physical space is not a straightforward process. There are many factors and vectors involved in the curating process that could be overlooked without the involvement of a designer. The success of an exhibition depends largely on the process of negotiation between design and curating; during this feedback, the script and the contents are adapted based on the design team’s critical review.

This unit is an approach to the initial phase of the exhibition design process, all the way through to the proposal of a design strategy and the creation of a mediation interface between the space, the script, the exhibition formats, the graphic elements, lighting, etc. in a seminar and workshop format.

Unit 6.2 Exhibition Design
This second unit is dedicated to the specific development and implementation of the design strategies proposed in the previous unit. The aim is to formalize a specific detailed proposal with the help of the workshop director and specialized consultants.

Pre-Departure Calendar
May 1 2019
Application Deadline
Applications accepted after deadline as space permits.
Within 1 week of acceptance
SAI Deposit Due
$1,500 Confirmation Deposit (applied toward program fee)
May 1 2019
50% of Total Program Fee Due
Students who are accepted and submit SAI deposits after this date will have an amended pay schedule. Either 50% or 100% of Program Fee will be due within 5 business days, based on the deposit payment date.
July 1 2019
Balance of Total Program Fee Due

On-Site Calendar
Early Sept 2019
Program Start
Final registration for courses takes place upon students’ arrival in Barcelona. Students should therefore arrive one to two weeks prior to Elisava Welcome Day.
Mid Sept 2019
Elisava Welcome Day
Students are introduced to their program, including classmates and professors, and get to know the school.
Mid Sept 2019
Classes Begin
Mid July 2020
Classes End
Early August 2020
Program End
Elisava’s graduation ceremony typically occurs two weeks after the end of classes.
SAI Program Fees* USD
Application Fee $125
Program Fee
Includes tuition, Master’s degree and SAI Select Services (see What’s Included).
Optional / Additional Fees:  
International Mailing Supplement
Students residing outside the U.S. are charged an international mailing supplement to ensure visa paperwork arrives in a timely manner.

*prices are subject to change

Budget Low Est. High Est.
Airfare to/from Barcelona
$900 $1,100
Cost depends on travel to Consulate.
$160 $360
Books, Supplies & Course Fees $300 $500
Includes groceries and eating out.
$400 / month $800 / month
SAI can provide recommendations.
$1,000 / month $1,300 / month
Personal Expenses $350 / month $450 / month
Transportation within Barcelona
Public transportation with some taxi rides.
$100 / month $150 / month
Weekend Travel
Cost varies greatly by student.
$300 / month $1,000 / month

This is an SAI Select Services Program; it includes the important on-site services!

  • Master’s Degree awarded by Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and Elisava Barcelona School of Design and Engineering
  • Program tuition
  • Student health insurance providing full coverage and medical emergency evacuation
  • SAI orientation to the host city and school
  • SAI staff on-site providing assistance as needed and 24-hour emergency support

Pre-departure and Re-entry services

  • US-based admissions counselor assigned to you, providing friendly assistance
  • Helpful pre-departure tools and resources
  • Assistance with student visa application
  • Paid registration fees for national re-entry conferences
  • SAI alumni network

Housing is not included in SAI Select Services Programs. However, your SAI Admissions Counselor will be happy to provide you with information and recommendations for housing agencies, dormitories, and rentals in Barcelona. Students who do not have prior housing arrangements should begin speaking with their Admissions Counselor as soon as possible. All students are required to submit to SAI information regarding their housing arrangements prior to program start.

Passports should be valid for 6 months after planned departure from Spain.

Student Visas

In accordance with Spanish law students studying in Spain for 6 months or more are required to obtain a long stay student visa. Those with Spanish/EU citizenship are exempted. Non-US nationals should consult their local Consulate for details on student visa requirements.

About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.