Trend report: Education design in 2018 will address the relationship between movement and learning says Pallavi Dean Interiors

Trend report: Education design in 2018 will address the relationship between movement and learning says Pallavi Dean Interiors

Design trends 2018, Education design, Pallavi Dean Interiors, School design, Trends

Commercial Interior Design and designMENA asked Dubai-based interior designers to contribute to this year’s trend report that looks at themes and socio-economic events that are set to shape interior design industry in the coming months of 2018. 

The planning of our interiors is now being driven by spaces that encourage students to move, stretch and explore. Particularly in Early Years Education, little minds are bursting with physical and mental

energy that work together and learn and through discovery.


You only have to watch how a child walks home from school and observe how they don’t walk in straight lines, but jump up on garden walls, hop over cracks in the pavement and turn everything into an imaginative adventure of self discovery.

Christina Morgan, Pallavi Dean Interiors

We are addressing this link between movement and learning by integrating climbing walls, ramps, nooks, nets and swings into the walls of our interiors. For secondary and further education students, movement and flexibility is also important and we have recently observed how some seniors prefer a ‘floor space’ where they can stretch out and spread their papers afar rather than choosing a soft seating lounge.


Our future will always be driven by advancements in technology and each new generation seems to have a more intuitive relationship with this than the previous. For 2018, we are working with a specialist immersive audio visual company to create interiors that are enhanced by interactive projections and multiple immersive controlled environments. Our spaces will use technology to engage all of our senses; sight, touch and smell in order to enhance our emotional connection with that space and create meaningful memories.

We are also keeping an eye on how mobile apps and the type of data recorded will influence how we programme our spaces. For example, a space where students have increased mobility verses an enclosed space can be correlated to their productivity which in turn can be observed by teachers and parents to track progress.


Education is ultimately the sharing of knowledge and creating a community with shared values. All our interiors feature social spaces for the whole community – students, teachers, parents and local neighbours.

Our reception areas have coffee areas, libraries have amphitheatres and outdoor play decks can double up as yoga studios, workshops and event spaces. Whether our clients ask for community programmes or not, it is something we always encourage, as these spaces add life and value to the overall identity.


Working alongside educationists, we believe that a colour should be used judiciously for zoning, codification, accents and so on. Learning places are not theme parks or fast food restaurants and so multiple, saturated colour palettes are best avoided. The vibrancy should come from the student and community work on display.

However, a muted interior does not mean a dull one. We are now focused on textures: natural materials like wood and cork with beautiful grains, knots and bumps, as well as manufactured products such as embossed panels from 3 Form, Arte’s foam texture wallpaper and Dalsouple’s 3D rubber floors. Even though we work with modest budgets, we still try to feature the odd show stopper or conversational piece. Our go-to suppliers for education projects are Office Inspirations for a full school fitout and Swicotec for one-off special pieces from Vitra and BuzziSpace. Our recent new discovery is Play+Soft, a manufacture of 3D foam products in all shapes and sizes. We also love Inflatables – kid proof, super soft and super fun.

By Christina Morgan, Director at Pallavi Dean Interiors

Read the earlier posts from our trend report: Perkins + Will interior designers on office design , Sneha Divias on residential design and Gillian Blair from GAJ on the shifts in hotel design. 

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