Michael Hall received his associate’s degree from NYSID in 2009 and then went on to open his own firm, Michael Stephen Hall LLC, which specializes in interior and event design and illustration services. Although he had a successful run working on a number of residential projects and designing events at high-profile venues, Hall decided he wanted to expand his historical knowledge in the field, so he returned to NYSID in 2010 to get his BA in the History of Interior Design and Decorative Arts. He graduated in 2012 and is currently working as a preservation associate at Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts.
Why did you want to return to NYSID for the BA program?
When I decided to return to school for a design history degree, I chose to come back to NYSID because of the specific concentration on the interior. It’s a unique feature among decorative art history degrees. I am interested in both the history and theory of design, as well as the practice of design. I thought that a degree in the history of the decorative arts would position me ideally for a career in the renovation and restoration of historic buildings.
What were your experiences like in NYSID’s Study Abroad programs?
I really loved the Study Abroad programs. They fostered a firsthand understanding of the concepts we learned in the classroom and they broadened my understanding of both architecture and the global design market in a way that only actual travel can do. I participated in the Berlin study abroad program and the London study abroad program, as well as the Historic Preservation Nantucket program, and the Los Angeles domestic study trip.
NYSID does a really great job of selecting faculty for these trips. Everyone has a special knowledge of the cities you travel to, so you get to experience the place in a way that would be impossible doing it on your own. The College also uses its wide network of affiliates to gain access to private homes, design studios, and architects’ offices for tours and presentations not usually available to the public. They have all been fantastic experiences.
What was your favorite class?
It’s difficult to choose just one; the BA program is so comprehensive and different classes impact you in such different ways. I really loved Design Theory with Freya Van Saun; 17th and 18th Century Interiors with Maria Chamberlain-Hellman, which was taught exclusively at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Design Process, taught by NYSID’s Dean, Ellen Fisher.