Brighton Girls Prototyping Pop-up

Stop, collaborate and listen: brand new spaces for invention

Losing a competition is rarely a reason to celebrate, but sometimes it’s not the end of the story. In 2018 we were runner up in a competition to fit out the Girls’ Day School Trust’s (GDST) offices. We learnt a lot about GDST and liked their style, so while it was a shame not to win the project, we were happy to meet afterwards for a coffee and chat about our shared love of good education design.

GDST are always looking for clever new ways to enhance learning, and in 2019 invited us to design an experimental ideas space for Brighton Girls, a school for 550 girls aged 3-18. Having researched and designed STEAM and ideas spaces, we enjoyed the challenge of coming up with something useful and unique.

The prototyping studio takes over the ground floor of the listed Vicarage building. Our starting point was to consider all the stages of the prototyping process, and what they might need in terms of space and furniture:

Researching: useful resources, a library and computers

Making: CAD/CAM and digital making, AI, VR and AR and a Green Room

Testing: this can be done outside if messy

Presenting & Discussing: the largest room, filled with light from bay windows. Soft seating is included in the bay windows, and movable seating and tables makes it a highly flexible space.

Collaborating: a formal room with video conferencing and a harkness table

Celebrating: an exhibition space

With the client we explored layout options, flexible furniture of all shapes, sizes and textures, as well as a colour palette in muted tones. Clare Bowman, an expert on biophilic design who has worked with GDST on other projects, advised us on plants to add to the spaces and a woodland mural, both of which are proven to have mood-boosting benefits. Pupils joined us for a workshop to think about their own designs, which was great fun, and also meant we could have a nose around GDST’s newly kitted out office.

The project was completed in time for the autumn term 2019 and the girls made themselves at home immediately, which is the best compliment.

Details

ClientGDST and Brighton Girls

CompletedSeptember 2019

Area200m2