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Students Working Together, Alone

Students working together, alone

We recently carried out a consultation for a school to gain some feedback from students about what they wanted from their new Sixth Form library.  This was a highly rated school with a high number of students going on to University.  We started by thinking about their current library and what they particularly liked or didn’t like about it.  It was obvious that they had truly fond feelings for the space and, in particular, how the old wooden shelving and cramped interior actually created the feeling of ‘nesting’ which they found very comfortable for studying.

This theme of creating individual spaces, ‘nested’ within a larger space, supports the idea of students needing solitude to study but also liking to still feel connected to what is happening around them. For these particular students heads down study was very important but we also find that many schools and colleges now want semi-nested spaces where small study groups can work together.

We did our own testing of some of the high back quiet meeting furnishings that we have in our showroom so that we could actually experience for ourselves.  For a start surrounding noise is immediately reduced but there is a gentle hum of things going on around you which is quite satisfying and comforting.  The high backs and sides of the sofas create a cocooning effect and stop you being distracted by the usual office comings and goings.  The upholstered backs and seats are comfortable and supportive and certainly make you feel as if you could stay there for sometime without feeling fidgety or uncomfortable.  You can also spread out work on the table in front or even on the seats beside where you are sitting. Any conversation is contained within the space and is not distracting to others working ‘on the outside’.  Most of all it made you feel as if you were there to focus – only one step away from the main office activity  but enough to make you feel mindful that you have moved into this space to achieve something.

When you add to this a huge range of colours, styles, fabrics and configurations these furnishings are a designers dream – combining functionality, practicality and a dash of cool.  And who doesn’t love to nest!

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