10 Higher Education Design Trends: Part 2
6: Work Surfaces – We’ve polled quite a few students and more often than not we get an overwhelming number of requests for fewer lounge pieces and more work surfaces! Sure, big comfy lounge chairs have their place (see #9 on the list), but students really want to be able to seek out opportunities to work at a work surface. Work surfaces can come in all shapes and sizes- from personal laptop tables to huge reading tables with built-in task lights and plenty of space to spread out. If there is a work surface nearby, they’ll use it!
7: Engaged seating – This is a somewhat new idea for lounge seating, but not a new idea in itself. Engaged seating just means that when we want to sit in lounge chairs we want to be able to sit upright, comfortably, and continue to work on our laptops and iPads. Elements that enable students to do this are the heights of tables/work surfaces, and the angle on the seat back of the lounge chairs. We’ve all seen that poor college student hunched over a small coffee table trying to write her notes down after finishing her last class. Tables at a regular height as well as lounge chairs that help us sit upright are more engaging and ergonomic.
8: Sustainability – This isn’t a new idea and it’s not going anywhere soon! Students are aware and very cognizant of sustainability. They want to know where the product came from, how it was made, if it’s recyclable, and how we’ve tried our due diligence to be kind to our environment. This is an important one and requires collaboration with sustainability gurus before we spec.
9: Nap Rooms–….no, really! We LOVE this one J Nap rooms are becoming a “thing” for good reason! Students that are commuting to campuses don’t want to go back and forth from home to campus 5 times a day. Today’s student might work a part-time job, go to school full-time, and be a Teacher’s Assistant or mentor—they wear a lot of hats! Sometimes, we all just need a quiet room that we can take a second to ourselves, meditate, and even nap. Here are a few studies we’ve come across to support this trend. Study1 Study2
10: Private Getaways – The more we talk to students, the more we hear them asking for “Private Rooms” in big open areas; something we like to call, “a room within a room”. We create these spaces for students who want more visual and acoustical privacy while in an open environment with BOOTHS. We know you might be thinking immediately about restaurant booths….and you’re not too far off. We have found that higher back booths create a more intimate setting because of the visual and acoustical privacy from our surroundings. Mix that with #3 on this list and you’ve got a gold mine! Here’s our trick- we make the power accessible at work surface height because, well, who wants to crawl under a table to plug something in?! These settings have been extremely successful and we continue to get requests for them in all types of student spaces.