An explanation of the colour scheme at Ysgol Y Gogarth SEN

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.

Ysgol Y Gogarth

Ysgol Y Gogarth

Ysgol Y Gogarth

Ysgol Y Gogarth

Ysgol Y Gogarth

Ysgol Y Gogarth


Ysgol Y Gogarth

Ysgol Y Gogarth




Good news about the Sellincourt Primary school refurb

We’re really pleased to announce that the governors at Sellincourt Primary school, Wandsworth have recently agreed to commit to a interiors refurbishment programme. Sellincourt Primary school is a rather lovely classic victorian school building characterised by extremely high ceilings and some examples of original glazed tiling.

It’s interesting to compare the abundance of quality materials and finishes in the building to current new build school schemes. The main halls for instance have parquet flooring ( incredible m2 expense) and walls are covered in glazed tiles which were both an aesthetic and functional solution to maintaining the wall finishes. Sadly the building interior has been compromised by subsequent ‘tinkering’ but the bones of the building are intact. Our job is going to be to develop an interior scheme for the whole building which will be implemented in stages over the next few years.

Part of the work will also include a hefty dose of pupil and staff engagement with the first workshops starting in December. The idea is that these workshops will generate involvement and ideas for the scheme.

One immediate feature that we’ve spotted is this rather lovely ‘tree’ motif ironwork which we’ve redrawn as a graphic to see how it can be used in the interior design.





Project Fitzroy commission appointment

Project Fitzroy logo band We’re really pleased to announce that we’ve been appointed for a design commission with St. Andrew’s Healthcare to work closely with their architects (P+HS) to explore, develop, design and deliver a coherent visual framework for their new build scheme. An integral part of our role will be to design way-finding graphics, wall super graphics and systems for the display of service user art. The client has also given us the freedom to exert a creative influence on the overall design process and enter into a positive dialogue with the architects. We will be identifying opportunities for design interventions that are integral to the design of the hospital, within the building, interior design and potentially within the landscape. This could include working with the architects on colour and finishes within the building if deemed appropriate.

The new build development will be a Secure Adolescent Mental Health and Learning Disability Service Unit in Northampton.

Work starts on this scheme from this October onwards with the scheme completion set for March 2016.

More about Willis Newson here and P+SH architects here



3Form showcases our designs


We were really pleased that 3Form showcased the Kettering suspended screen on their website recently.

You can take a look here at the entry

Each panel measures W600 x H1500 x 6mm and is suspended on 3mm cables from floor to ceiling. The whole assembly is over 9 metres wide by 6.5 metres high – very impressive when you see it close up.

The panels themselves are a mixture of either 3Form resin panels with various textures and interleaved colours or clear acrylic panels with optically clear printed film applied to one side. When the sun light catches the panels the whole room is suffused with glowing squares of colour. Quite spectacular.

The screen was installed over the main High school entrance and a second screen with different artwork was located at the Primary school entrance.