We were recently asked to provide a summary of the principles that we used in developing the color scheme at Ysgol Y Gogarth for a case study that Akzol Nobel are producing. Below is an excerpt from our report;
The starting point for the scheme was to develop a colour palette which drew inspiration from the surrounding external Welsh landscape with the proximity of the sea, coast and mountains all within eyesight of the new school. This was linked to the focus that the school had on encouraging their pupils to get involved in numerous outdoor activities including climbing, skiing and canoeing. On my first visit to the old school I was struck by the outward looking ethos of the school and its daily approach of encouraging physical interaction with the landscape of the area.
There was a parallel dialogue with the school about how the internal finishes would influence and contribute to positive interaction with their pupils. One particular concern was that the school wanted the Ground floor (the entry point at the start of the start of the school day) to be a place of calm especially for their Autistic spectrum pupils for whom discordant colours and abrupt floor transitions would pose issues.
Another consideration was the wide spectrum of abilities within the school including those pupils with visual impairment needs as well as low levels of literacy. These factors were important when thinking about wayfinding within the new building as the use of signage would be limited as a consequence whereas the use of visual cues such as colour and texture would be emphasized.
As a result of considering all these elements the school was zoned into distinct thematic areas of ‘Sea’ for the Ground Floor and ‘Mountain’ for the First Floor with the ‘Forest’ acting as the transition points between those zones. Externally a ‘Coastal’ theme was used to bind together the various outdoor elements. A palette of shades of sea blues was used on the Ground floor to help develop a sense of calm whilst on the First floor stronger shades of mountain greens and purples were used to emphasise the energy and seniority of pupils as they progressed through the school.
Another guiding principle for the colour scheme was that all the end users would benefit from the scheme having a strong visual logic. A sense of repetition would be used to help locate people as they moved around the spaces. For instance aside from the differentiation between the ground and first floors, the core spaces such as offices and medical rooms were allocated their own core colour scheme. This was replicated across all the floors and was done to help confirm the differences and transition from and between pupil and administration spaces.
The scheme used the principle of feature wall colours contrasted with Wiltshire White on non feature walls. The feature wall colours were used partly as a tool for wayfinding; blocks of colors which guided people through the building, and also as a way of defining the various zones of the school. Within the stairwells large 6m high composite images of birch trees photographed at different times of the year were used to transition between the Ground and First floor. The principle staircase used by most people throughout the day combined a strong feature wall colour with a polycarbonate wall with seaweed graphics. Colour was used here to pull people up the stairs and onto the next floor.
Attention was paid to sightlines within the building. Although a relatively deep plan building the architects were able to maximize views out of the building towards the landscape. How many schools have a view of the coast at the end of a corridor? This principle of creating visual events was bound into the wall colour scheme; block colours were used to provide ‘destinations’ and ‘signposts’ to other parts of the building.
We’ve recently been appointed by Leicestershire County Council to develop the interiors for the Mount Grace/ Holliers Walk refurb primary school scheme. Its been interesting to reflect on the change in focus compared to schemes that we were delivering 10 years ago. Now wayfinding is the first thing that we develop alongside the colour palette. Conversations with the school about how the building will be used and the flow around the space are all key elements in creating a successful wayfinding scheme. Obviously in a primary school there isn’t much need for actual signage but using colour and graphics to zone areas is critical.
The initial elevations show some early thoughts but these will in time be developed much more fully into a coherent wayfinding scheme.
We’ve been working on a range of super graphic features for a new build health setting. These graphics are part of a design intent to create a welcoming space which references biophilic design principles – encouraging the merging of the outside with the inside in order to create a more harmonious and relaxed space.
This artwork is looking at ‘Flow’ as a theme and is arranged on panels of digitally printed material stretched onto aluminium extruded frames. ‘Flow’ is being used as a way of expressing ideas about the patient journey, design in nature, DNA and the transfer of positive energy.
Biophilic design principles are not a new trend and there is a growing awareness of the critical role that these principles can have in patient welfare. Here’s a study, Beyond Positive Distraction : Biophilic Engagement in Healthcare Spaces – Part 1, which talks through some of the data that has been collected around this issue.
There’s something very satisfying about distilling an idea and describing it as a series of lines and dimensions that others can then use to develop a price and method of manufacture.
We recently ran workshops with Y4 and 5 pupils at Sellincourt to think about and develop ideas for a large digital banner for the new school lobby.
The lobby is part of the refurbishment programme and will be remodelled to include (budgets permitting) a new glazed partition separating the main hall from the visitor holding area and a re-jigged Reception counter. The banner is based on a tree motif derived from existing Victorian ironwork in the school. Pupils drew lots of different trees and also the sorts of things that you might find in the branches. Measuring over 2 metres wide and 4 metres high it should make quite an impression on visitors!
Sometimes it seems that you’ve been very quiet when in reality you’ve been very busy working on a whole series of concepts.
Milton Keynes Hospital have commissioned us to develop ideas for both the Children’s Wards as well as other parts of the hospital. It follows on from a previous commission to create graphics for Ward 4. Working with the Arts For Health team we’ve been developing a load of very exciting proposals of which the Nature Trail concepts below are a small sample of the project development.
A key challenge for the scheme is to ensure that our programme connects and integrates with the larger hospital maintenance regime as there are some interesting opportunities that can arise from that collaboration.
Our next step is to run some focus group work with young people to gauge their reaction to the current proposals as well as gather their ideas .
You can find out more about the excellent work of Arts For Health here
Workshop report : 10 December 2014
This was the first day of workshops at the school. Today we were going to focus on thinking about colour and how it could be applied to the refurbished classrooms.
To make the whole experience more special we ran the workshops inside the inflatable igloo – a tangible way of transforming the space. And very exciting it was too!
The following classes took part; 1F, 1G, 2S, 4C and 5G. All the groups had a look at different colour palettes from manufacturers like Formica and Desso carpets and we talked about how designers put colours together to create a palette. The palettes might have a theme such as ‘Fresh’ or ‘Industrial’ and this influenced the choice of colours.
The pupils then looked at a Dulux colour fan deck and found out that there were several shades or hues for every colour. So Blue for example might have more than 200 variations. Altogether the Dulux fan deck has over 2000 colours but there are even more in their colour library. Having talked about that we then looked through a big pile of colour swatches and picked a favourite colour. We realised that we often chose a colour because of how it made us feel; like happy or energetic, and also because of what it reminded us of like holidays at the seaside.
Finally we concentrated on the hard part of the session which was to choose up to 6 colours arranged as a colour scheme or palette.
It was interesting to see what the different year groups chose. Surprisingly perhaps, younger pupils didn’t always choose bright rich colours. In general yellow was not a favourite colour whilst pink and blue came out top. Looking at the choices overall there was a bias towards ‘fresh’ and ‘natural’ colours. All these results were collated as can be seen in the pie chart to show the choices as a percentage of the total poll.