Stichting Kennisnet’s ICT Experience Center is designed to be a place where educators can come and learn and be inspired by advances in ICT (information and communications technology). It’s an interior design project—the center rents several floors of office space—led by Studio1:1. The direction they chose was "weirdo fantasy elements" but behind the whimsy lies some serious thought about how a collaborative space should be designed.
Take the giant ethernet plug/seating area. It’s sort of wacky—a clumsy green blow-up of a soon-to-be obsolescent computer port. But it serves a purpose—according to Studio1:1, the fact that it’s semi-closed-off makes it very popular for "think-tank" sessions, where people might want to work together in a focused way. Other parts of the center are designed to encourage different kinds of collaboration, ranging from places where you are encouraged to stand and have a chat to workstations with power and data plugs.
It goes on like this. The walls have panels made up of old keyboard keys. This is a bit of computer hardware art, but it’s also functional, acting as an acoustic solution to dampen and control reverb in the space. Lines on the floor, painted to look like circuit boards, serve as pathway suggestions to help direct traffic. Those lines are mirrored by LED strips in the ceiling. Several murals are made of pixels, designed to be a reminder that ICT always comes back to pixels.
The surreality of the design as a whole is meant to serve a purpose as well. For teachers, the pace of new technology can be intimidating. Tho goal of this center is to help ease that feeling. The fun of new technology is in imagining all the possibilities. "Now you can hold and see the things that always seemed to be impossible, as if fantasy becomes reality." The goal of the design was to intensify this aspect of the experience. Here’s hoping that some of that enthusiasm and playfulness makes it back to the classroom.
[Hat tip: Knstrct]