Architects, designers and librarians alike are faced with many challenges when making design decisions. There is usually an emphasis on natural light and bright open spaces, but what about the furniture?
Whilst tables and chairs seem to be making way for relocatable desks, pods and bench seats, there are other options for creating bright, open spaces and comfortable, personalised places.
Students at The Phoenix P-12 Community College in Sebastopol, Victoria, Australia are using a range of bean bags in their Redan Campus library. After consultation with students, teachers selected a range of popular colours and different shapes, using twenty-six bean bags in total. The idea behind the exercise was to make an environment where kids enjoy sitting down to read. The Bean Bags chosen were sourced from Bean Bags R Us Australia. The kids love the heavy duty material because they can be used inside and outside.
It may be argued that the more comfortable students can be while reading, the more inclined they will be to pick up a book! With the trend towards tablets and kindle readers, kids are definitely engaging in reading in a different way. This change is emphasised when they are sitting on a different kind of furniture.
Factors include Colour, Style & Comfort
It’s important to consider your clients when working with different kinds of furniture. For example, bean bags work well with kids, but are probably not ideal for a space used by older adults. When choosing furniture, consider all aspects – comfort, style, design. Younger children seem to prefer brighter colours, with a preference to pink, red, and yellow. Children between five and eight seem to dislike black, white, grey, and dark brown, instead, preferring lime, orange, yellow, and purple.
The use of colour to warm and brighten these spaces can encourage students to read. It can also be an inexpensive way of refreshing a space. Consider picking up the bright colours of non-traditional furniture with bright wall graphics or coloured shelves. You may consider the use of abstract art or bright privacy screens and room dividers. Perhaps exhibiting art from local artists or school children will make your interior more appealing. Rugs and different types of floor coverings for different areas is another idea. Many kids like to sit on the floor, so it may be worthwhile considering some crash-mats or soft flooring in a big open space, replacing traditional tables and chairs.
One would conclude there may be substantial benefits from the use of furnishings that children enjoy using. The trend in business these days is to do business the way your customers want you to. In a library, the children are your customers. When was the last time you asked them what they would like to see inside your library?