by Publisher
ARTICHOKE
30 Sep 2013
pp. 102-105

article

Hames Sharley’s design of student lounge at Edith Cowan University’s Joondalup campus in Perth sees recycled materials used to create a welcoming “free zone” for students.

Designed by Hames Sharley, the Edith Cowan University (ECU) Student Lounge provides students with an uplifting communal space that they can call their own. Located in the Faculty of Education and Arts at ECU’s Joondalup campus, the modest refurbished fifty-square-metre lounge incorporates an assemblage of colourful recycled materials, cardboard furnishings and repurposed objects. Hames Sharley’s refreshing “upcycle” approach has resulted in an eclectic common space that reflects the dynamic identity of ECU, and which creates a sense of vibrancy, personalisation and informality.

The brief called for the conversion of a small, unused tutorial room into a casual student lounge, prompting Hames Sharley to generate the concept phrase “We Belong Here”. After developing ideas around notions of ownership, informality and comfort, the designers explored the re-use and reappropriation to create “a student share-house’-type experience where furniture and decorative materials are sourced from anywhere and everywhere.”

The space is characterised by its collection of patchwork fabrics, ranging from icy blues to purples, olives, umbers, browns and reads. Hames Sharley’s request for discontinued fabric samples and remnants was met with an overwhelming response from suppliers, demonstrating, says Porrins “that there was a lot out there that could be recycled and reused for better purposes.” Donated fabrics were sewn together to create beanbag covers, cushions and wall cladding which will make the space reminiscent of a home-y patchwork quilt. An assortment of discontinued carpet tiles was used for flooring. These carpet tiles are arranged based on colour, and loosely graduate from warm to cool tones across the room to add a sense of order to this highly textured space.

Many unused objects in the space were reappropriated, including a wall-mounted timber pallet, which is now used for displaying magazines, and a handful of unwanted painted brushes, which have been turned into coat hooks. Couches were sourced from second-hand stores, while stacks of encyclopaedias were fixed in spiral arrangements to become whimsical side tables.

The triangular cardboard tables that are dotted throughout the space further highlight the interior’s “upcycle” aesthetic. The tables add a graphic, urban appeal to the room and are overlaid with advertising to promote ECU’s support of recycling. They are accompanied by cardboard stools covered in prints of weathering scrap wood. The lightweight and portable nature of these items also allows for a highly versatile environment for student gatherings. The walls at each end of the space are painted black and finished with writeable wall paint to provide a surface for writing to facilitate group collaboration and enable personalisation of the room.

Porrins explains the design “was to be spring-board to test the idea of introducing a number of s mall informal lounges around the campus.” The notion of “belonging” in Hames Sharley’s upcycled design is manifested in the disparate elements drawn together through collective use. “When students discover the space there is an intrinsic awareness that the space belongs to them,” says Porrins. Through the assortment of fabrics, the use of cardboard furnishings and the re-use of items, as effective fusion of urban and home-like gestures has been attained, creating a casual interior in which students can connect.