Resonate / King Edward VI School, Southampton

The studio has created an invigorating and sophisticated space for students in the new sixth form area by combining a formal atmosphere with personalised details

Words By Emily Martin
Images By Philip Vile

Interior designer:
Resonate Interiors
Client: King Edward VI
Size: 557 sq m
Completion: September 2022

INTERIOR DESIGN STUDIO Resonate has completed its fabulous design for a new Sixth Form at a Southampton school. King Edward VI approached Resonate to discuss how they could create an inspiring, fun, modern and flexible space that would encourage social and academic interaction in a positive way for its students. The studio’s design was selected, out of a number of other design practices, by members of the school, Governors and students themselves, which has transformed the learning environment.

Working with the stakeholder groups, which included both students and teachers, Resonate developed the concept around the ‘Tree of Learning’ into a space that would fully maximise natural daylight, provide a variety of study spaces from quiet to collaborative and an all-important barista coffee bar – a prerequisite from the students. From the outset, the school was very clear in its aim to create a modern multi-functional, student desirable space and adaptable Sixth Form area that would be closer to a higher education/collaborative working space than a school. It had to feel dramatically different from the rest of the school, and somewhere that pupils would aspire to be a part of one day.

The unsightly existing structural columns are clad in a natural oak finish, which embody the Tree of Learning concept, that rises gently over the double height space. The existing roof light floods the space with light bouncing off the neutral colour palette which features pops of green – a nod to nature.

The space, with its bar and formal social space, conveys a mature atmosphere. Image Credit: Philip Vile

The furniture selection is a mix of old and new; there are re-purposed study booths which create a quiet study zone, away from the main space to enhance focus, and the front of the barista bar is carefully crafted out of old school books. Situated in the heart of the space, the bar is central to social interactions and set the scene for a more grown-up environment.

The flow from study to social space promoted by the open plan allows for ease of movement. Image Credit: Philip Vile

A bespoke living wall with built-in AV creates an intimate collaboration/learning environment, gently framed by carefully-placed acoustic panels. The space also features a group study area that links to the social area. With the high use of IT and mobile equipment, the space incorporates a main laptop charging station within lockers, as well as a multitude of charging points throughout the space.

Fabric panels dampen sound in the quieter areas to help students focus. Image Credit: Philip Vile

Recork flooring by Quadrant covers the floors, selected for both its sustainable and acoustic qualities and to soften the high traffic space. Acoustic panels hang from walls and ceilings throughout to create a sense of privacy, and the quiet rooms feature wall hung fabric panels to soften the space and aid focused study

High level decorative pendants, brass halo lighting and task lighting complete the space giving a sense of warmth and creating a meaningful atmosphere for the students. The ceiling is shrouded in black felt to soften the acoustics and enhance lighting and a timber baffled ceiling helps shape the space into the different zones.

In-built charging stations allow ease of use, while a mix of timber and warm lighting refines a professional and welcoming environment.  Image Credit: Philip Vile

Resonate CEO Pernille Stafford comments: ‘It has been a real joy working with the students and teaching staff to create an academic space with a difference, one that would prepare the students for the working environment, as well as inspiring them in their academic studies. To see the place transform has been wonderful and the feedback from both students and teachers has been incredible’.


Cork Flooring



Acoustic Panels
Camira Fabrics

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