Location: EDspaces Conference 2019
Designer: Stephen Gower, Demco Design Supervisor
Completion Date: October 2019

Biophilic design, or incorporating elements of nature into the learning environment, has been proven to have a positive influence on students’ well-being, as well as to boost productivity and academic achievement.

Demco’s learning environment designers collaborated with Plunkett Raysich Architects to create this experimental and inspirational 3,600-square-foot classroom, featured at EDspaces 2019. The classroom was designed to illustrate the different ways educators can infuse their learning spaces with nature and reap the many benefits of biophilic design.

Within the classroom, mobility and flexibility are key, and different modes of learning are supported by three distinct zones: the glen, the clearing, and the forest edge. The materials within each zone were carefully chosen to mimic natural environments and encourage focus, learning, and well-being by making connections to the natural world.

The Forest Edge

As students enter the room, they find an inviting area of comfortable soft seating in organic shapes; tactile Demco Gear Guard Makerspace Tables, which provide the perfect surface for hands-on experiences; and mcSquares Rolling Easels with double-sided, magnetic dry-erase boards to promote collaboration. Whitney Brothers® Nature Plant Stands provide an organic surface to bring greenery into the space and teach students about plant life. The natural imagery on the backdrop enhances the calming environment.

The Clearing

The multisensory forest edge space opens to the clearing, or center of the room, where a variety of seating options and work surfaces abound. Café-height mobile Muzo Kite® Tables and Stools can be easily rearranged or even folded and moved out of the way to accommodate individual, small-group, and large-group settings. JSI Totem Pods, Muzo Bebop® Stools, and MooreCo Hierarchy Enroll Tablet Chairs are peppered throughout the space to offer students mobile seating options at any point in the room. JSI Lounge Rockers, low seating, and ottomans in natural colors create a comfortable space for students to collaborate, and mobile Muzo Powerball units support learners’ technology needs. Compact Smith System™ storage towers hold items in many shapes and sizes, and optional laptop shelves turn each unit into a mobile podium. This area strikes the perfect balance of flexible work surfaces and media tools to support every educational need.

EDspaces

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The Glen

On the far side of the room, students find a variety of smaller spaces to collaborate. The JSI Connect Curved Seats and Table offer a comfortable area to convene. When paired with Muzo stools, the backs of the seats double as a private setting for groups to study and work together. More natural imagery appears alongside robust butcher block tables and benches that are designed for hands-on learning; nature plant stands serve as partial dividers between each table. A larger storage unit along the wall adds ample out-of-the-way storage for STEM supplies, makerspace materials, and more.

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