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Underpinned by our Scandinavian design heritage, we bring you regular stories about architecture and interiors, exploring natural materials, acoustics, and the creation of safe and harmonious environments.
As the competition for students becomes greater, universities are adapting the look and feel of their environments to become far more flexible. An example is ‘The Street’, a multifunctional environment at the University of the West of Scotland, which cleverly plays with proportion, colour and furniture elements to create a variety of spaces.
“The reality is there are big challenges within the higher education sector at the moment,” begins Ross Hunter, director at Graven, a Glasgow-based design studio, reflecting on its work at ‘The Street’ element of the University of the West of Scotland (UWS). The landscape for universities and colleges is particularly tough given the competition to attract both domestic and overseas students, as well as functioning during a pandemic. Hunter advises these centres of learning to take on board what’s happening in the world of the workplace, “Corporate offices have been evolving away from people stuck at their desks and towards providing a range of good quality spaces that people want to use to achieve a particular task.” Graven’s portfolio encompassess workplace and education projects, along with hospitality and retail. The practice is perfectly placed to achieve this knowledge transfer between sectors.
Hunter advises that university environments must satisfy the needs of three distinct stakeholder groups: academics, administration staff and students. The latter in particular have had to get used to virtual classes, followed by more blended learning environments in the wake of Covid-19. Having become accustomed to varied ways of working, students now want this flexibility from their university campus too.
While learning spaces were designed by Hugh Anderson (HAA), Graven’s work on ‘The Street’ connects three campus buildings together. The studio won this scheme having successfully worked with UWS on its Paisley Student Hub. “It’s a huge 1400 square metre space with a town square feel,” Hunter says.
The brief called for a modern learning environment to be created in what was a shell and core office development on a technology park – a bold move away from university buildings of old. Graven has provided a lesson in open creative spaces for both collaborative and individual work. It is somewhere to study and socialise, and serves as an information hub. There are boldly coloured interventions which are conceived as pieces of ‘giant furniture’ which serve as information points. These draw attention towards the exaggerated height of the lobby space, and at the same time create areas for quieter concentrated work or conversations. Graven has provided a great example for others in the education sector to consider, in how to temper a vast space by introducing cafe areas and stages where students feel at home. Meanwhile, graphic floor designs help to support the program of functions and presentations that also take place in the space.
An earlier project of Graven worth noting, which demonstrates some of the ideas expressed in ‘The Street’, is the BBC’s Pacific Quay scheme in Glasgow. Here, the workspaces are arranged around the social areas which connect to the reception where visitors and staff can see a huge sandstone ‘street’ with its mix of meeting and working areas.
Back at UWS, Gustafs’ decorative, acoustic panels played their part in achieving an attractive and fluid space for both socialising and studying. The composition of the panels behind and on the information desk is designed in a triangular elevation from floor to ceiling and is realised in a beautiful pastel green. Wooden acoustic panels have also been installed in different sections of the project: birch veneer ribs give an extra design dimension and at the same time work hard to provide acoustic balance.
“There’s always a fear about noise,” says Hunter, “while there are some tasks that require complete silence, mostly a bit of ambient background noise is OK, but you do need to deal with reverberation. Plus, most people are capable of moderating their behaviour to mitigate others being disturbed.”
Hunter adds finally that “far more flexibility is becoming an absolute requirement in the workplace.” This more hybrid, much less formalised way of working is being adopted by forward-thinking universities such as UWS. Its provision of a blurred landscape of teaching and learning environments is what makes it the go-to university in this particular part of Scotland.
BAU Stockholm on holistic healthcare design inspired by hotels.
Creative agency Nineties Studio explain the concept behind Gustafs new brand identity.
Experienced consultant Paul Nulty on how to combine lighting and materials such as wood.
House of Choice by White Arkitekter gives guests a greener choice.
Carol Costello, practice leader of Cullinan Studio, discusses what architecture studios can do to reduce their environmental impact.
Hawkins\Brown tell us how they approached the modernisation of a Grade II Listed building in London.
Chris Lefteri, renowned expert in material technology, speaks about materials of the future.
Mondo Arkitekter build Sweden’s first carbon neutral house.
Colour expert Karen Haller tells us how behavioural colour and design psychology can create harmonious interiors.
Gustafs introduces Feltfon Linear, a customisable linear felt solution which gives a soft, warmth to walls and ceilings.
Thomas Sandell on design with an enduring appeal.
From courtrooms to concert halls. We list five favourite projects that use ash.
Shaping design from ancient times until today
The patterns and colours of our most popular veneers.
How natural influences can improve learning environments
Architect Andrew Waugh talks about his appreciation of timber
Anna Graaf’s three thoughts on circularity.
Exploring biophilia in architecture and design.
Sweden’s sustainable approach to building materials.
Jan Ammundsen talks through Denmark’s gamechanging Klimatorium scheme
An overview of how material choices affect sound absorption in a workplace environment.
Ola Jonsson C.F. Møller’s sustainable approach to materials
We explore how workplace design can be adapted for people with neurodiverse conditions.
A conversation with Daniel Rönnqvist, Architect and Accessibility Consultant at Gatun Arkitekter, about human-centered architecture and workplace design.
3XN’s Design Director explains the studio’s approach to material selection.
Architect Colin Moses reflects on his key learnings from the University of Bedfordshire library project.
Exploring how architects can create happy cities by designing for mental wellbeing.
Fire engineer Håvard Strøm Halvorsen examines interiors with wooden ribs.
Property developer Folkhem’s Anna Ervast Öberg talks about her favourite material.
An interview with Graven’s Ross Hunter on designing multi-use education spaces.
The benefits of avoiding fire retardants, and other important points.
Workplaces designed with acoustics in mind can avoid noise and stress.
Joe Belcher lists his key learnings from The Davison Library, University of London.
We chat to Kristian Ahlmark of Schmidt Hammer Lassen about how this “city within a city” was designed for the local community.
We examine how architects focus on daylight, acoustics and materials in educational facilities.
Experiencing how buildings sound at the design stage: we look at a new research project of sound simulation software.
Gert Wingårdh talks ten years of the Spira Culture Centre.
Wood and other natural materials boost wellbeing and harmony in the home.
Take a trip around Arlanda VIP Services as Mark Humphreys of Tengbom Arkiteker explains how it epitomises Scandinavian style.
Jenny Lovebo of Linnaeus University answers three questions on the wellbeing effects of forests.
The wooden interior of Hejmdal Cancer Patients House.
Exploring the trend for vertical wood panelling.
Architect Annika Askerblom of AIX explains how interior design and acoustic excellence were combined to create stunning performances spaces.
We explore how reducing noise and creating harmonious sound environments can improve wellbeing.
Why forest bathing is here to save your social life: exploring how woodland walks have become the new way of socialising.
Want to get the best out of your digital and hybrid meetings? Get your acoustics right.
The legendary Swedish acoustician Jan-Inge Gustafsson joins us for a conversation about concert halls, collaborating with architects, and the creative process.
We ask fire consultant Anders Bach Vestergaard of COWI consulting to answer three questions about the creation of safe, beautiful and design-led wooden interiors.
In this article we explore the Scandinavian culture of educational sloyd, and its potential to inspire future generations of wood-centric designers.
The interior details that transformed the Chamber in the Swedish parliament.
The story of our heritage: from a forest in rural Sweden, based on traditions of carpentry and craftsmanship, to world-leading wood panel systems.
Recalling the challenges and joys of making a spectacular acoustic solution happen – from design to installation.
Wood is nature’s original stress-reliever, and studies have proven that its use in the built environment can greatly improve our wellbeing.
We talk to Wingårdhs Arkitektkontor on the future of offices and the shifting role of workspaces.
Introducing Lamellow+ from Gustafs, a beautiful combination of felt and wood for indoor public spaces with natural fire safety properties.
Gustaf’s collaboration with Cisco has resulted in a fantastic conference solution that has been awarded with Red Dot: Best of the best
We have developed a new design for our timber slats. A narrower model is now available for walls and ceilings.
The project Lund’s district court is featured on Archdaily – Building of the year award. The project is featured under Best applied products.
Once again we have a new product to present at the Stockholm furniture fair – come and experience our new meeting pod.
In our aim to lead the development of fire classified wooden claddings for public spaces we now launch a brand new linear timber cladding panel that achieves the market’s absolute highest possible fire classification A2-s1, d0.
Architect Arata Isozaki has been awarded the pritker prize. One of his projects is QNCC, which consists largely of Gustaf’s interior panels
Gustafs Gpod is our new Office meeting pod, designed for both meetings but also as an exclusive wooden furniture with perfect acoustics.
During the Stockholm Furniture Fair we will be launching a brand new product – we’re redefining the workplace, again
We continue to develop our product range. It is now possible to install spotlights as D-Line, we introduce Gustafs D-Line Spot
Once again DTU Building 202 has been awarded for it’s design. This time the prestigious Detail Inside Special Prize.
Introducing Linear RIB-S design. a new design with sharper edges that give the increased feel of a solid wooden rib.
Gustafs D-Line is our new integrated LED lighting system, fully compatibel with our Linear System – LED lighting for wall and ceilings.
Bedfordshire library project has been awarded the RIBA East Award 2018. We are delighted to have been part of this project.
The stunning project DTU building 202 has been awarded the Carpentry Prize 2017. We are proud to have delivered our panels to the project.
The Brunel Building of Southmead Hospital has been awarded European Healthcare Design 2017. Gustafs and LSA have produced and supplied panels to the project.
Gustafs together with LSA have produced and supplied slatted wood panels to this new library at Bedfordshire University.
The Royal College of Music in Stockholm is one of ten projects nominated for Stockholm Building of the Year.
Gustafs are producing interior acoustic wood panels for all music venues at the new royal college of music in Stockholm.
Gustafs have been awarded by the contractor Skanske for our environmental work at the project site NKS, we are truly glad!
Gustafs have contributed with interior wall panels in laminate and wood surfaces to the BREEAM Building of the year project.
Our brand new dark fibre gypsum core can be used to hide the perforations in a better way, using dark veneered wood panels.
Gustafs have won the Malmö Live contract and will produce and install interior wall and ceiling panels for this spectacular venue.
We’re happy to announce Gustafs’ first ever project in China. We have produced and supplied this auditorium with wood panels.
This summer Gustafs celebrated 100 years as a business, with the start of Andreas Tunander acquired the business back in 1913.
Together with our Russian supplier, Gustafs has manufactured and delivered fireproof wooden panels for this historic building.
Gustafs Linear System is our brand new cladding system with linear design, utilizing real wood veneer and a Quick-Up installation system.
Gustafs’ wood panels are now certified with fire classification A2-s1,d0 according to the European fire class.