The impact of smart, creative interior design cannot be underestimated – particularly in education environments where the objective is to inspire learning. Feeling relaxed and happy in a space can help to motivate students. Universities need to consider not just the aesthetics of design, but also how a space is maintained.
Interior design – of which the flooring plays a huge part – needs to balance practicality and durability with attractive design. Some might think these are mutually exclusive, but a recent project I worked on at Cranfield University shows that both are achievable.
The wellbeing of students and staff is a top priority for the University so Tracy Flynn, Development Project Manager at Cranfield University, wanted to provide a space where users could focus and work as well as relax and feel comfortable. With this in mind, we developed a concept influenced by the principles of biophilic design.
Biophilic design is based on the understanding that closeness to nature has a calming and revitalising effect on people; using textiles and colours inspired by the natural world. According to our own research, the Human Spaces report, biophilic design significantly boosts people’s creativity and improves their productivity.
Skinny Plank flooring tiles from Interface’s Human Nature and Transformation collections were chosen for the project. Influenced by forest floors and pebbled garden paths, Human Nature and Transformation gave the space a distinct feel of the outdoors and offered students somewhere to concentrate and feel inspired. The modular flooring format also means they can easily replace individual tiles when worn, as opposed to changing the entire floor. As a result, the space is able to withstand heavy traffic with minimal aftercare requirements.
Nature can have a real, positive effect on people, both mentally and physically, so more universities are taking inspiration from it to breathe life into worn-out spaces and attract new students. By taking simple steps, biophilic design can easily be incorporated into design schemes to create spaces that are striking, yet practical and durable.