How an interior design project turns a STEAM centre into a paradise for digital creators
Think Forward uses whiteboard paint to redesign a classroom for digital creators. The writable walls improve creativity, engagement and communication, following the main trend in school architecture, which aims to design the most flexible, open and communicative spaces that create school communities. You can read more about this project in the following interview:
Tell us a bit more about you… Who are Think Forward and why interior design for schools?
Think Forward is a growing team of people who share the idea of socially significant architecture. We are excited about social, ethical and environmental issues and we are looking for their innovative solution through the means of art. It is in our educational projects that the effect of change is the most tangible, rapid and satisfying. Change not only in the material base, but in the way the educational system functions. So far, through our projects we have addressed pressing issues such as child violence at school, lack of freedom of choice in the educational process, education of logical thinking, but not creative, morally outdated architectural typology, neglect of sports education, which leads to an increase in the number of overweight children and lack of knowledge regarding a healthy lifestyle.
Your design of the STEAM centre at Hristo Botev Primary School in Aheloy inspires us! And we are sure that it inspires all the young digital creators who create in there. How did you achieve this wonderful result? What were the key aspects of this project and what are you most proud of?
We achieved this result thanks to our harmonious joint work with the school management, the trust in our professionalism, the initiative of Yuliyana Atanasova – director of Hristo Botev Primary School, in finding additional funding for the realisation of the good idea. Although the received STEM funding for the redesigning of a classroom for digital creators amounted to 50,000 BGN, the ambitious school management expanded the project to grow into a STEAM CENTRE for digital creators. This decision increased not only the project scope and the cost of implementation but also the future educational contribution of the centre.
Functionally, the STEAM centre for digital creators is designed according to the model set by the Ministry of Education and Science, including areas for one-way communication, individual work, group work, learning by doing, socialisation and physical activity. Perhaps the most significant achievement of the project is the attempt to surpass the basic task in order to transform the space into an interdisciplinary centre for digital creativity, education of visual culture in children, improvement of their presentation skills and knowledge of English, introducing them to specialised softwares for digital drawing and computer animation, photography and video content.
The project is divided into three functional zones – a classroom for digital creativity; a school foyer for recreation, socialisation and video presentation of digital dynamic creative products to the public; a hallway adjacent to the classroom with exhibition areas for static digital creativity, mental and physical games to develop creative thinking, visual culture and skills in children.
Why with ESCREO? What does working with ESCREO bring you and how do ESCREO writable walls contribute to your projects?
Most children have an innate need to paint the walls at home. It seems that the scope of a child’s imagination has no limits and needs to be realised properly. In my childhood memories, there was not a single wall in my grandmother’s house left to be vandalised, who would certainly have been much calmer if she could magically erase the marker pen drawings with a sponge. That is why our work with ESCREO is used not only in educational projects but also in private residential and office spaces. ESCREO whiteboard paints give us the freedom to rediscover the white wall and the childish feeling of creating without limits beyond the fixed literal and metaphorical frames of an A4 format. It is no coincidence that ESCREO is also in Think Forward’s office.
And last but not least, what are the trends in the interior design of schools, which we will see more and more often in future projects or in other words, what are the elements that currently create the most favorable, productive and creative environment for children?
The main trend in school architecture is the design of the most flexible, open and communicative spaces that create school communities. This is a new type of democratic architecture, promoting transparency in the educational process, equality between its participants, blurring the boundaries between different disciplines. Another important trend is related to project-based training, which focuses on learning by doing and predetermines the emergence of a new type of classrooms with thematic equipment. It is the establishment of STE(A)M centres in schools that aim to supplement theoretical learning through practical classes in order to increase the quality of Bulgarian education.
Whiteboard paint for schools
If there’s one thing that teachers of all age groups can agree on is that keeping students engaged, energised and interested in a classroom is a never-ending battle. We’ve put together some ideas of how our writable walls and surfaces can be utilised at schools to benefit both students and teachers. The article covers just the tip of the iceberg of how writable walls at school can enhance the teaching environment by utilising a range of options including our whiteboard writable paint, transparent whiteboard paint, or even our magnetic dry erase paint for even more interactive learning.