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Five tips to create a shape shifting interior

Use foldables, rollables and flexibles to create a multi use space

A well designed and furnished flexible space can be the difference between one that can be used for a variety of functions or one that sits idle and unused. Whether it’s for education or leisure investing in  the right furnishings is key to developing a multi use interior. Flexible, design led furnishings can make a  single function space such as a cafe or reception into a hot desking space, a pop up shop or even a performance area. We use the phrase ‘shape shifting’ to describe this space to our clients as we use one footprint with flexible furnishings that allows sq footage to be transformed.


Chairs and shelving on castors are now the norm for designing flexible multi use educational spaces. The truckable Tarn armchair, backchair and footstool from Orange Box is one example of a compact and comfortable tub chair that multi functions in cafes, relaxations and meeting rooms spaces. Easy to glide to shape shift a space,  they are a funky alternative to old fashioned fixed, heavy tub chairs.  Furnishings can also be used as visual reference points by acting a landmarks to support navigation into the space.


Foldable, movable tilt top tables used at The Winston Churchill School sixth form study centre

Folding mobile tables are high on ‘the versatile furniture’ shopping list.  One of our favourites are the Telford tilt top tables.  Robustly constructed with a simple tilt facility they are easy to store and reconfigure.  A benefit of these tables is that they are easily handled and folded single handed – no need for a facilities management team to be called it to quickly reconfigure a space.  The tables nest together vertically for convenient and educational space saving storage. From Saturday morning Lego time in the library to a business boardroom to a student collaborative workspace these tables tick the box for movable, foldable and flexible furnishings.


Hireable pod space, Kingston Library, Milton Keynes  

Once the favourite for expensive office interiors, the pod is now mainstream with affordable versions to meet all kinds of needs and budgets.  From a simple frame version that can be easily built up and broken down to more permanent structures, this is the perfect way to create a space within a space. For meeting rooms, private and collaborative study, to hireable revenue earners the pod is the answer to the sometimes difficult to achieve semi private space.  Users can feel ‘part of’ rather than ‘apart from’ others working in the area.  The pod is a versitale space too, which can be used for meetings, conference calls with its sound absorbing walls , free standing screen system

Era Zen learning booth / pod

Overall, what  we are looking for is to make spaces work harder by implementing agile and flexible design led educational spaces that can be used in different situations and times of the day by different people. Within that we need to consider giving students new ways of working and learning with multiple types of working spaces to choose from.

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