Practical yet creative: our transformation of Stratford Girls' Grammar School - Peters
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Stratford Girls' Grammar School

March 22nd 2023

While bookshelves can often take centre stage in a library, seating is just as important! For our recent transformation at Stratford Girls' Grammar School in Stratford-upon-Avon, our team made the most of our extensive seating options and colour range. Now the 900 secondary school students have an attractive, multifunctional space where they can work, revise and read for pleasure. 

Margaret Formby, Library Resources Assistant, says: "The aim was for it to be a calm space for use by all year groups as a library, study space and wellbeing area. It needed to make as efficient use of the space as possible while not losing too much shelf space for books." 

With a £24,000 budget*, our team realised this challenging brief by creating reading zones around existing furniture like tables and computer desks. Our Cameo bookshelves and Apto display units make the most of the available wall space and make finding books fun and accessible. But the stars of the show are our seating options, which include our curved Octo seat and stylish vinyl-finish Quarto seat. These comfortable additions are fantastic for book clubs and independent reading, encouraging students to stay in the library for longer. 

For those who prefer a more secluded spot, our Converse two-seater features a high back with acoustic panelling to offer sensory comfort, particularly to those with special educational needs. It's also great for dividing a space or for group sessions to keep noise to a minimum. To add a fun nature feel, our team incorporated an artificial tree at the centre of the semi-circle seats. The finished effect is calming and motivation-boosting - just what the school wanted. 



                                           Our designers created a calming and stylish library space with plenty of seating where students can read and revise

Interior designer Q&A 

Helena Thornton | Interior Designer 

Helena graduated from Birmingham City University with a BA (Hons) in Interior Design. With a creative flair and an interest in colour and style trends, Helena also has a passion for photography and graphics. She is very excited to be working in children’s library design, creating interiors to inspire young readers.

How did the team create a calm space at this busy school?

We incorporated neutral, earthy tones into the interior design to avoid an overstimulating environment. For this, we used our Moss, Wasabi and Forest green shades, which customers can select when ordering their bespoke furniture. Forest green is a low wavelength colour that promotes restfulness and calm to improve focus, while greens like Moss and Wasabi can promote good mental health by providing students with stress relief and aiding concentration.

It needed to be a multifunctional space. How did you achieve this? 

We ensured that there was adequate floor space for any additional functions of the library, for instance large meetings and exam work. The modular seating allows for layout flexibility, as it can be reconfigured if needs change. It's also great for supporting extracurricular activities like book clubs. 

Are there any different considerations for secondary schools and primary schools? 

A mature colour scheme with modern materials gives the space a grownup feel. While primary school students tend to be more content when seated in the same area (for example a rug with cushions), for this secondary space we focused on creating seating areas that give students the option to study independently or work in groups. This also helps to improve the flow of the space. Since high school students often use the library for revision as well as reading for pleasure, it was also important to design a more focused environment. 

Why is seating important for a library? 

Seating can make the library a more appealing space to visit; if there isn't somewhere comfortable to relax or settle down to revise, students' visits will be short. When working with schools to encourage reading for pleasure, we need to make sure that these focused, calming environments are as welcoming and comfortable as possible. If there is a range of library seating, students can choose where they would like to sit and even find their favourite areas; perhaps they prefer a private corner to study, or like to work at a computer desk. Either way, we design each of our library spaces to meet learning needs and provide a variety of options.



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