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This Adelaide junior school celebrates connection to Country

Totalspace Design have used Milliken’s Water Yuludarla collection at Star of the Sea School to create a bold landscape that defines the interior and creates a powerful space for learning.

Connection to place is an important consideration for any space. When designing the interior fit-out for Star of the Sea School in the seaside suburb of Henley Beach, Adelaide, Totalspace Design turned to the coastal landscape and the history of the Kaurna Land the school is located on. To realise this vision, a component for the design team was to create an evocative landscape. A desirable collection which embraced the coastline composition and synergy to country was Milliken’s Water Yuludarla range.  

“It was important to not only capture the coastal theme through different design elements, but also to embrace the history of the site through the eyes of our First Nations Australians,” says Mary Pappas, interior designer at Totalspace Design.

The junior primary school is a new-build by Edge Architects that incorporates the exterior of an existing convent, with the teaching spaces linked through a central atrium. “The atrium led the way for a light and bright interior, offering the opportunity to tell a story through the flooring,” explains Pappas.

Totalspace Design uses Milliken Water Yuludarla range for Star of the Sea School

Within the atrium – which functions as a communal gathering space as well as a circulation zone – an outdoor landscape has been created. Columns are reimagined as towering trees with floating canopies crafted from acoustic panels to address the inevitable noise of a school hallway; and the floor is a colourful waterway with a directional path that visually encourages movement through the space.

Key to bringing this vision to life was the flooring, which utilises carpet tiles from Milliken’s Water Yuludarla collection in Jagun and Mayala patterns, harmoniously balanced in various colour palettes to clearly define different zones. This collection was a collaboration with Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance and the National Aboriginal Design Agency and is a contemporary interpretation of the artwork of Gumbaynggirr artist, Brentyn Lugnan. Each of the six patterns signifies a connection to the land and people of the Urunga region in past, present and future, celebrating a connection to country that the design team wanted to bring to the Star of the Sea School.

The dark, river-like path that winds through the atrium is formed using Milliken Formwork 2.0, a simple yet sophisticated collection of tiles that offers a bold contrast to the pattern of the Water Yuludarla collection, yet a similar tonal palette. Other areas – including quiet study rooms and collaboration rooms – feature the Mayala pattern from the Water Yuludarla collection in a coastal palette of ocean blue, fern green, and blush. “The idea of using very contrasting colours – especially in the quiet rooms – made them easily identifiable,” explains Siobhan Downey, Key Account Manager at Milliken.

“The neutral greys and abstract design of the carpet in the atrium and open spaces in the Jagun pattern complement the crisp whites and textured panelling; while the splashes of colour and organically layered pattern of Mayala offer a fun element for the young learning spaces and work well with the playful scheme,” agrees Pappas.

Totalspace Design uses Milliken Water Yuludarla range for Star of the Sea School

Beyond aesthetics, the use of Milliken carpet tiles played a key role in creating an environment that meets the wellbeing needs of an education setting. The PVC-FREE WellBAC™ cushion backed modular carpets offer tangible benefits, including improved acoustics, comfort, indoor air quality, and safety – all of which can have a noticeable impact on learning ability and health of students and staff. Of particular importance is the ability to reduce noise up to 50% more than other carpet, to create quieter, more productive learning environments.

Milliken’s carpet tiles were also essential to achieving the design team’s green and well-being goals. “At Milliken, sustainability is core to our culture, so this is true for all of our products,” says Downey. “We have a clear vision of our place in the world of tomorrow.”

Totalspace Design uses Milliken Water Yuludarla range for Star of the Sea School

Downey is referring to the brand’s ambitious M/PACT™ Carbon Neutral Program. This initiative has seen all Milliken carpet tiles, LVT, and entrance flooring tiles become carbon neutral globally. The company isn’t stopping there, however. There is ongoing investment in new technology to create even more sustainable products and manufacturing processes, including the installation of solar power at the manufacturing facility in Sydney.

In a fit-out with such a clear focus on connection to the land and its history, what could be more fitting than specifying products that will support the fight against climate change to ensure the coastal landscape can be enjoyed for generations to come?


Totalspace DESIGN

Totalspace Design uses Milliken Water Yuludarla range for Star of the Sea School
Totalspace Design uses Milliken Water Yuludarla range for Star of the Sea School
Totalspace Design uses Milliken Water Yuludarla range for Star of the Sea School

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