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Beauty and science: 6 learning spaces that put flooring first

We select 6 inspiring education projects that showcase how science-backed carpet tiles can be used to elevate education environments.

Beauty and science: 6 learning spaces that put flooring first

Monash University CL28 by Kennedy Nolan, photography by Derek Swalwell.

Great design in educational environments is essential to nurture learning, productivity, and the health of students and staff – and creative carpet design has the power to elevate education interiors through a combination of beauty and science.

From defining circulation zones and intuitively identifying quiet zones, to benefits that go beyond aesthetics to have a meaningful impact on learning, Milliken carpet tiles offer an intelligent solution for designers and architects.

Compliant with Education Department Standards across all States and territories, Milliken’s range is bolstered by the ability to quickly and easily create custom patterns and colours to suit any design brief. The visual appeal of the carpet tiles is long-lasting too, as Milliken Obex Entrance Flooring Tiles keep out up to 95 per cent of dirt and contaminants, meaning better air quality and less wear and tear.

There are numerous tangible benefits afforded by its innovative PVC-free WellBAC® cushion backing. From improved acoustics (with the ability to absorb 60 per cent more noise and transmit 50 per cent less noise than hardback carpet tiles), through to quieter more productive learning environments, improved indoor air quality, and safety.

Ambitious sustainability goals are also easily within reach thanks to Milliken’s M/PACT™ carbon neutral initiative. The program ensures all products globally are carbon neutral, which offset the raw materials and manufacturing carbon footprint* by using 3rd party Verified Carbon Standard Credits. These support renewable energy and carbon reduction technologies.

As education spaces continue to evolve to meet the demands of contemporary learning, we take a look at six projects that showcase just how effective Milliken carpet tiles are in transforming and defining inspiring educational interiors.

*As calculated and verified through an ISO14025/ISO14040 compliant LCA and published in third party EPD.

1. QUT College P Block by PDT Architects

QUT College P Block is a place of growth and development for students – and PDT Architects fittingly took inspiration from nature for the interior to enhance the user experience.

The Jagun pattern from Milliken’s Water Yuludarla collection – a collaboration with the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance and the National Aboriginal Design Agency with Gumbaynggirr artist Brentyn Lugnan– creates a “groundcover” around the base of an enormous bottle tree sculpture in the main foyer, while the contrasting Bindarray pattern clearly defines circulation space.

Elsewhere, the seamless combination of other Milliken carpet tiles which include Colour Compositions, Free Flow and Arctic Survey collections in various neutral and accent colourways were used to zone various staff areas and classrooms.  

Key to bringing the design to life was a customised solution developed through Milliken’s bespoke Milliken Couture service. The entire process from design to production of trial tiles, and manufacture – was completed in just five weeks.

2. Ridley College by ARM Architecture & McCorkell Construction

Colour and pattern can have a major impact on focus and concentration – and Milliken’s Water Yuludarla collection has been used to create an artful centrepiece that inspires learning and productivity at Ridley College, Melbourne.

The large, open space is cleverly divided into separate zones using different accent colours and textures, with the organic, biomorphic patterns and bold, natural palette setting the scene for learning.

The carpet tiles, part of Milliken’s Reconciliation by Design initiative, help connect students with Australia’s Indigenous heritage. Here, the collection is a contemporary interpretation of the artwork of Gumbaynggirr artist, Brentyn Lugnan, with each of the six patterns within the collection signifies a connection to the land and people of the Urunga region in past, present and future. Photography by Chalk Studio.

3. UNSW Paddington Library and Nucleus Student Hub by MCA Architects

When designing a new Student Hub at the University of New South Wales, MCA Architects settled on a “green” theme that creates a calm learning environment and celebrates sustainability.

The dynamic library has a variety of different zones, each defined with Milliken’s carbon neutral Clerkenwell collection. These architectural lines within the pattern added interest in the busy space without being visually overwhelming.

In the kitchen and break-out areas, Milliken’s carbon neutral Metro Park flooring (a RigidForm™ Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT), offering the natural appeal of timber flooring), responds to the natural material palette. Importantly, given the high-traffic setting, it is scratch- and stain-resistant with innovative Proguard finish.

4. Star of the Sea School by Totalspace Design

Milliken’s Water Yuludarla range was used by Totalspace Design to great effect in the Star of the Sea School in the seaside suburb of Henley Beach in Adelaide.

The Jagun pattern from the collection has been used alongside Milliken’s Formwork 2.0 in the atrium to create a river-like path that references the coastal setting, connects the school community to the Indigenous culture of the area, and encourages movement and defines circulation zones.

Elsewhere, quiet zones can be identified by the use of the Mayala pattern in a nature inspired contrasting colour palette. WellBAC® cushion backed Milliken tiles create a healthy environment for students and staff, reducing noise in the open atrium with the benefit of lasting 50 per cent longer than conventional carpet tiles. Photography by David Sievers.

5. Monash University CL28 by Kennedy Nolan

To adapt the Monash University central computer facility into a new complex for the Department of Mathematics and Earth Atmospheres and Environments, Kennedy Nolan wanted to respond to the functional modernism of the original building.

Its design also celebrates the function of the new building, with Milliken Couture customisation service bringing the Kennedy Nolan design vision to life.

The bespoke colour scheme references the graph paper used by the students and the original architecture while a custom gridded pattern on the carpet is a subtle nod to mathematical structures.

This playful approach continues to the student lounges, where the WellBAC® cushion backed modular carpet helps to create a convivial setting with soft acoustics as a refuge from the more social spaces. Photography by Derek Swalwell.

6. CBC Fremantle Senior School Hub by Site Architecture Studio

When Site Architecture Studio was brought in to reimagine an ageing two-storey commercial building in Fremantle as the CBC Fremantle Senior School Hub, the design team not only had to craft an inspiring space for students but bring the building up to current code compliance and create a healthy environment.

Milliken’s WellBAC®  cushion backing is certified Red List Free, (this means it is free of any harmful chemicals, as listed by the Living Building Challenge Declare label). The cushion backing provides better underfoot comfort, a quieter learning environment and is non-reactive. It eliminates the need to carry out moisture mitigation before installation, reducing mould and mildew, and ultimately creating better air quality.

The Beyond Chroma collection was installed throughout to create a fun and colourful space, with different colours used to differentiate flexible learning environments.

Contrasting colours also used to create dynamic wayfinding throughout that mimics the shape of the furniture for a space that is simple to navigate. Photography by Dion Robeson.

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