We visited Central St Martins the other day for the degree shows. The shows were fantastic, but the thing that blew me away was the Central St Martin’s building itself. They’ve clearly taken the time and effort to think strategically about how the design of a space can impact collaboration and creativity.
They appear to have used raw materials throughout – lots of concrete, exposed metal and floating plywood. Here’s the d.school view on that: ‘Raw materials can be finished to feel less precious. Less precious materials are approachable and malleable and can be a strong signifier for a culture of making.’
The central atrium is reminiscent of Pixar’s HQ in California. A food truck sits in the centre of it, and the student union bar is tucked away at the very end. It makes for the casual collisions Steve Jobs built into Pixar – a fantastic move by CSM.
Variable spaces (like classrooms) are kept bare – offering a blank canvas for those that occupy them. You can imagine just how muddled and marvelous it must get in there when 30 or so people are working on their individual projects.
Fixed spaces appear consciously messy: the typography office looked like it was chock full of wooden block lettering and old reclaimed signs.
The students there should feel privileged somebody took the time to think it all through – hats off to the team behind it.