The importance of human connections

How do you transform a 1980s building into a healthy learning environment for the modern day? This project from Interface and Kaplan International Pathways sheds some light on the solutions

The environment in which students learn matters because it impacts their performance. Stimulating spaces have the potential to positively influence the way students engage and interact in an education environment.

This was the inspiration for the latest project between modular flooring manufacturer Interface and Kaplan International Pathways. Both organisations share the goal of using smart, creative interior design to inspire students to achieve their academic and career best.

Kaplan’s 1980s building located in south-east London is home to five storeys, supporting open-plan working, including break-out areas dedicated to tutorials, group work, classroom discussions and student learning zones. The central challenge to the development was the need to connect of all of these working spaces, encouraging collaboration and engagement. This high-traffic environment required a product range which perfectly balanced attractive design with practicality and durability. Interface’s concept designer Sarah Tilbury and key account manager Stevie Ditch worked closely with Kaplan to create an interactive working space, encouraging students and staff to cross paths and engage.

The team opted to use Human Connections® throughout the building to create interconnecting spaces and pathways. The range takes inspiration from squares, paths and elements of greenery we find in towns and cities, meaning it not only helps to reconnect people but also reconnects them with nature through biophilic design.

Katie Leech, regional key account manager, said: “We carefully selected products from Human Connections® collection that considered nature – Sett in Stone, Moss in Stone, Moss and Paver. Adding these elements of nature into the built environment and designing inspirational and restorative places provides the perfect facility to connect students to their surroundings. The product line mimics city surfaces such as turfs, patterns, textures and grounds, using them to create interiors that function more like neighbourhoods – again encouraging cross collaboration. We also used Composure Diffuse – the pattern inspired by rock formations creates a tranquil, comfortable platform, restoring a sense of calm and focus, minimising distractions in what can sometimes be an extremely busy environment.”

Nigel Jones, director of estates and construction at Kaplan, added: “We wanted to encourage a connection between our students and staff, and ensure the space was optimised for learning. We were blown away by the range of designs and products that Interface has to offer, the products were not only durable but were able to hide staining. The designers listened to the brief and worked closely with our internal teams, designing a flooring solution which met all of our requirements and challenges.”

Find out more about Interface’s Human Connections® collection at:

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