Elements To Achieve A Premium Science Laboratory18-02-2020
Science laboratories are an important but complex feature of any school or university, so it is crucial that they are fitted correctly and to the highest quality. As an educational FFE and Design consultancy, we understand the importance of getting it right first time. We take a client focused approach to discuss what is required of the space and what the students and staff want from their learning environment. For science laboratories, safety, durability and capacity are integral factors to consider when designing an educational lab. But for a premium feel, there are some extra considerations to make…
Quality of Materials
When choosing the material of a worksurface in a teaching environment, there are various options to choose from ranging in price and quality. At our project with Brighton College, the School chose a bespoke black 20mm SGL worktop. Solid Grade Laminate is an ideal choice for a science worktop as it is incredibly hard wearing, impermeable to water, high chemical and impact resistance. SGL is tested against EN438 so can withstand high impact environments, particularly as it is resistant to stain, chemicals and shock. To complement the black worktop, the School fitted the appropriate safety equipment such as eyewash hoses, brushed chrome gas taps and swan neck taps which have anti-twist security fixings and specialist educational fittings.
Similarly, at Weydon MAT, the quality of the fit-out was an important consideration in their design so they chose a light grey Velstone worktop. The modern and clean Velstone material is a composite stone worktop product, it is nonporous so no spillages can penetrate through the surface, has excellent chemical resistance and has seamless joints so no dirt can build up on seam lines. Therefore, whilst a worktop may seem like a rather simple design feature, it actually has many variations and can serve to be a stand-out focal point of a laboratory whilst providing excellent long-term durability.
Colour Scheme & Finish
Whilst layout and materials are important in creating a premium science environment, colour is very powerful in its ability to promote productivity and encourage enjoyment for learning a subject in a new, exciting space. But incorporating colour does not mean it has to be garish or unprofessional, instead it can be used to create design cohesion across a large space. At Brighton College, we fitted black worktops across all the various labs as it is a professional and sensible colour to choose for a worktop. The colour black connotes power and formality and harmonizes with brighter accent colours like the chairs. Darker worktops also provide less opportunity for vandalism or scratches meaning that they are more likely to stay pristine.
However, colour can also be used within educational design to promote a School or University’s corporate colours. At Weydon MAT, the laboratory furniture colours coordinate with the key colours in their school crest with the purple doors and grey décor panels. This again provides continuity throughout the design and looks impressive to prospective students.
Layout of the Space
Choosing the right sized and shaped furniture is essential to the functionality and aesthetic of the design. For science laboratories, safety is paramount to design as a variety of chemicals and equipment can be highly flammable or corrosive. Therefore, providing effective storage solutions is important so that all science lab equipment can be kept behind lockable cupboard doors to prevent students from getting hold of potentially dangerous substances. With that in mind, at Brighton College we fitted our innovative StorageWall system into the walls to streamline the space, allow for clutter free work surfaces and keep student safety at a priority. The Storage systems also add a design element to the space as they are fitted with LED lights to brighten darker evenings.
Likewise, at Weydon MAT, not only do the curved workbenches add movement to the space, they also have inbuilt storage underneath which hold a dual purpose in minimising the need for extra storage in the lab and the rounded corners mean less potential for accidents.
Overall a well-designed premium laboratory not only looks impressive but also influences the enjoyment of the subject for students using the space. Pinnacle Furniture are experts in space planning and design for science laboratories with a comprehensive range of fitted storage specifically designed for science and technology spaces. If you would like help in creating a premium, high-spec laboratory, have a chat to our friendly team today!