In continuation of our on-going relationship with RedHill Education, CIA Designs were invited to design another level of their booming operations at 120 Spencer Street, Melbourne.
The aim of this level was to connect and carry through the successful design elements of levels 8, 12 & 13 yet also give level 14 its own sense of identity. To create the connection to the arrival on other levels we continued the theme of the lightbox which gave both a sense of arrival and a display system for student works. The brightly lit elements draw students arriving on the floor to that end, without the need for “obvious” wayfinding. To create a mood within the lobby space the once corporate white walls and ceilings were painted out in charcoal for added effect and theatre. This gives potential students a sense that they are gearing up for an experience unlike other education facilities. In a further connection to the design brand created for Redhill Education, we incorporated the directional woven flooring in the lobby that weaves its way into the main entry to and café space, once again eliminating the need for any “obvious” signage.
As a point of difference for the level 14 experience, we did away with a standard reception arrival and instead integrated the Study Press Café. Not only does this give an extra level of buzz, as it is the atmosphere of the world-famous Melbourne café culture, it is also a further expression of how RedHill Education goes beyond a standard education offering. The Study Press Café is not just any café, it is in-fact a training facility for students! The café supports RedHill Education’s innovative addition of facilities for students to gain experience in how to become a top-class barista. As this form of employment often represents the livelihood for many students whilst they study, RedHill offers courses from the café for training. From a design perspective it was important that it operates as any other coffee making facility around Melbourne and our designers undertook careful planning (and lots of coffee drinking around Melbourne) to ensure it emulated the Melbourne café experience.
Beyond the Arrival café the space seamlessly links to the student kitchen and breakout. This partnering of spaces means both functions can utilise the varied gathering opportunities. These include the typical, convertible café seating, raised group seating and the newly incorporated, reconfigurable lounge seating. The lounge snakes its way from one side to the other and includes power & laptop tables to support agile working and collaboration. Around the perimeter of the space are raised seating and working opportunities which allow students to have a breather from the buzz and gaze out to the Melbourne Skyline beyond. As with other levels this space takes the prime view opportunities of the floor, ensuring all students and visitors can make best use of this zone.
The moody, mainly black on white aesthetic is interjected with vibrant graphics in the form of the breakout splashback and the café backdrop. These give pivotal talking points for students engaging with one another and the space. The graphics tell a story of the Melbourne experience that draws so many students into our amazing city. To give warmth to the interior, timber elements are featured strongly, making the space welcoming and homely and balancing the dramatic black-on white theme and bold graphic elements.
In further testament of RedHill’s standing as a national education innovator, RedHill further wanted to workshop the idea of the student study space with CIA Designs. We all agreed this space needed to not just be another student library, but instead provide a variety of flexible study opportunities. The space is successful in its multi-use zones including group study spaces, quiet 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 booths plus the successful larger open booths as previously integrated in the other levels. To further create opportunities for sharing, the large, raised group study space integrates an LCD screen to share students work on. The round group work table gives a relaxed family vibe to student catch ups. Yet again the students were invited to incorporate graphics into this space as a talking point and to envelope student interaction prevalent at the campus.