When Leicester University recently revamped its Students Union what it wanted was something fresh and vivid. It also needed to seclude the seating areas from each other to provide privacy, and using large circular rugs was an excellent way of doing this.
Looking for an interior designer, the SU called upon Steve Gibson of SG Design in Sheffield. When Steve conjured up the plans for the flooring he got in touch with Fringes Rugs, which in turn supplied a series of large and vibrant circular rugs to match the off-the-wall colour scheme.
Steve remembers the instructions clearly: “The brief was to provide a vibrant meeting place for the students without fixing anything down,” he says. The functionality for this project was just as important as the design: “The area had to be multi-purpose as it was being used for fairs and conventions. They would have to remove everything fairly swiftly.”
Steve consulted the RAL colour chart to achieve this vibrant look, and proposed vibrant signal red and signal yellow colours, as well as a rich orange and a striking green. These colours match the sofas and lamps that now stand upon them to create a powerful sense of continuity. Once the colours were approved, Steve enlisted the help of Fringes Rugs to implement his ideas.
The rugs were made to be comforting and homely, as the SU provides a break from the stresses of lectures, a relaxed area for students to go through their notes or send some emails, this was always in mind. Steve explains: “The colour co-ordinated rugs, chunky furniture and giant classic angle poise lamps were just a really simple but effective way of breaking the space up, creating small student living rooms. The round rugs created a tight seating structure, whilst having no corners reduced the trip factor.”
The practicality of the rugs was also important. The fabric itself is commercial grade material with a high-quality finish in order to cope with the strains of a highly-frequented eating and drinking area. Complimentary anti-slip and stain protection were also included to combat such issues.
All of the rugs were made in Fringes’ own UK workshop, so it was able to supply the rugs to specification and with a speedy delivery. The company’s dedicated trade consultant, Adrian Thornton, worked closely with Steve, making use of story boards to combine ideas and find solutions to present to the client, Leicester University.
This kind of bespoke service is very useful for any interior design project, especially given the specific needs of designers and the limitations of unusual floor spaces. In this case the designer wanted something modern with simplistic shapes and bold colours and this was the result. Staff at the SU were delighted with the outcome and the students spend increasing amounts of time working and socialising in this space.
This proves once again the power of interior design on the psychology of education, even through the simple use of some spectacular rugs.