A versatile environment that caters for learning, socialising and dining, the sixth form common room is a place for ad-hoc interactions, personal study and growth. Delving into our archive of projects dealing with common room furniture, we present a range of key points that really stand out when forming a furniture plan. As well as the aesthetic details, it is vital the various functions of each space come together to form a cohesive interior space.
Mixture of formal and informal learning spaces
We have worked with various schools and youth centres, each offering a variation of study spaces to encourage both formal learning and more ad-hoc studying. A project with Caterham Youth Centre saw the Spaceist team engaged in consultation with the young people who were going to use the Centre, to determine the final selection of furniture to support daily use. As well as having a strong and striking design-led contemporary style, the furniture pieces needed to be robust. For the formal study room table, we selected the Colour meeting table >> that comes with a solid laminate top and chrome base legs. To complement the Colour table, the stylish Catifa chairs >> were selected with a four-star base. The combination of table and chairs suited both the client’s economical budget and also the designer appeal sought after by the students.
Above: Colour meeting table and Catifa swivel chairs at Immanuel College
A school sixth form common room is a unique space that functions as the key social and recreational space for sixth form students, it is a space where students usually study between classes. During a project with Kings College, we brief included a full furniture package for a large sixth form common room that included a mixture of lounge and dining areas and also spaces for informal studying. To integrate a supportive area within the common room, we introduced a range of square Trumpet tables >> and large round Colour tables. These provided a space for recreation when not being used for studying. The colourful laminate options allowed the team to coordinate the tables with further dining seating, creating a cohesive appearance. The study spaces are used by both staff and students, so a modest black colour scheme was selected for the Pop chairs >> in the main common room.
Above: Ark Meeting table and Pop chairs at Sir John Cass Hall
To create further study spaces without breaking the cohesion of the overall space, introducing a large communal study table looks both attractive and works well for serendipitous meetings. Sir John Cass Hall, a student accommodation facility in Hackney, required a specialist furniture package for the main common space; this room included recreational and social spaces as well as a need for some type of study area. In order to integrate these various elements without obscuring the openness of the room, the Ark meeting table >> was applied to the back of the room with lightweight stackable chairs in a bright and colourful yellow tone. The Ark is highly stylish and offers a minimal form, whilst the Pop chairs offers a robust quality and are designed to withstand daily use.
Robust social spaces
As well as studying, the common room plays a vital function as a social space during lunch breaks and between classes. A place to sit and read, it is a comfortable space where students interact with one another and socialise. In order to form a supportive area to do this, the furniture needs to be robust and easy to maintain, but also attractive and appealing. The 46 office sofa >> system was selected for the Kings College project for its durable qualities; it is made from a solid hard wood frame which is designed for high impact contract use, perfect for school and college use. This system offers a sophisticated seating option, presenting a comfortable sofa setting that aligns with the rest of the high design of the common room.
Above: Forty-Six system button-back sofa at Kings College
Above: Straight and square corner configuration Modular Sofa at Guildford College
To create a more casual social space, one of our most popular choices is the Modular Sofa >> range. The highly robust, contract grade vinyl upholstery offers numerous qualities that make it viable for use in high volume spaces. It is waterproof, easy to wipe, comes with hygienic qualities, and durable against daily wear. With over 100 colours to choose from, and 20 various elements making a range of configurations possible, create your ideal seating formation with the Modular Sofa and Cubes system. At Guildford College, we present a more square, corner unit configuration to match the spatial shape of the room, whilst at Weatherhead High School, a selection of rounded U-shaped configurations where ideal to maximise the space. Mix and match colours and create integrated seating for a fun and attractive social and recreational space.
Above: Curved and round Modular Sofa at Weatherhead High School dining areas
Working with such a broad range of schools and colleges, we have had the opportunity to speak to clients with varying requirements for the dining options in the common room. One of the key requirements was to provide furniture that broke the norm of typical canteen seating and introduced a more stylish option. The JB Waldo canteen table >> is a modern alternative that offers contract grade manufacturing with a high design appeal. The vast range of laminate colours makes it possible to customise for each project, from bright yellow for Sir John Cass Hall to a more colourful mixture for Swakeleys School.
Above: JB Waldo tables in bright yellow laminate at Sir John Cass Hall
Above: JB Waldo tables in colourful laminate colours at Swakeleys School
As well as bench seating, many clients the Spaceist team work with, have specified more informal café style dining furniture. For Prince Henry School in Otley, a selection of Dream round tables >> break up the canteen space without causing clutter. The café tables offers a casual dining area that can be cleared away if required for cleaning, or for use as a study area or light snacks. Further enhanced seating was provided for the project at Immanuel College; we combined the Trumpet table with Modular round cubes to create a varying seating space for students. This created additional soft seating, which functions for both dining and study.
Above: Café style seating at Prince Henry School
Above: Modular Cubes at Immanuel College
For a closer look at any of the project mentioned here, please see our Projects >> page.