Kidzink Design partners with Citizens School to create Learning Spaces that “Reimagine Education”
The UAE education sector has taken a leap toward the future, with the launch of Citizens School, Dubai. The new school (backed by homegrown Al Zarooni Emirates Investments) has been founded with the belief that freedom and autonomy in the classroom leads to more engaged learning.
The task for Kidzink? To apply their unique-to-the-sector expertise in school consultancy, design, manufacturing and aftercare and bring about learning spaces that empower educators to deliver on this belief, right from day one.
Kidzink designers Zubeck and Zarveen have provided the creative power behind the school’s interiors. Having won the Citizens team over with their innovative interpretation of the initial brief, the first objective was to distill this unique school into a Parent Experience Centre – a space where the marketing and admissions team can enthuse about the school with tangible and exciting examples of school life directly to hand.
The task of embodying everything that the school will eventually deliver into a single, welcoming space fell to Kidzink designer, Zarveen.
Zarveen, the team behind the school talk about ‘reimaging education’.
Can you tell us a little about how your designs for a reimagined learning space got started?
Right from the initial brief, Citizens highlighted their passion for truly inclusive education. This is definitely a school like no other! The design concept needed to be universal, catering to children of all abilities and making a space where each and every child can feel comfortable and at home. These priorities were the starting point for what you see in the school today.
The first thing parents will see when they visit Citizens School is the Parent Experience Centre. One of the team behind the school described the end result for this space as having ‘magic’ to it.
Zarveen, tell us how you created this magic?
The Parent Experience Centre has been designed to help the marketing and admissions team showcase all aspects of school life to prospective parents. Take, for example, the health and wellbeing area. I don’t think any other school I have worked with has placed such importance on health and wellbeing. The whole mood of this area, even the smell…it’s all designed to provoke you to think about your own wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of those around you.
The outside space adjacent to the Parent Experience Centre reflects the Citizen’s approach to Sustainable Leadership, but sustainability doesn’t end there! Everything we have created for the Parent Experience Centre has been planned to be reused in other parts of the school. The cosy seating ‘pebbles’ that you can see in the wellbeing area will eventually be repurposed in calming spaces which we have called ‘Cocoon Rooms’. A Kidzink Cocoon Room is a zen, calming space for when a student isn’t feeling well, needs someone to talk to or just needs a quiet place to study. Students will find these rooms dotted throughout the school and we are really excited to see them come to life in phase two of our work.
When the school is up and running, the workstations and table in the Parent Experience Centre will be moved to the staff room. The sofas will go to the Principal’s office. We designed the central seating area to be is freestanding, so it can be moved to wherever it is needed.
I think this is where the unique Kidzink Design process and way of working has such strength. We are able to custom design and custom build furniture that works for each individual school. As designers, we can think about how it will work right now and how it will work for the future too. This is real sustainability, in every way! What we have created looks so natural here…just right – but we can also reuse it elsewhere. Of course, I love it all – I designed it!
Zubeck, what was the most exciting part the of the initial brief for Citizen’s School?
This is a school that is very forward thinking in their pedagogy and, as such, they wanted learning spaces that won’t follow the norms and expectations of a traditional school.
Flexibility was an important element in every aspect of the space and design. In fact, what our designs have done is create more than simple flexibility. This school will have spaces that can mutate. The team behind the school wanted to create Community Learning Spaces, and it has been exciting to bring that idea to fruition.
You’ve been involved with this Kidzink Design project right from the start. What does the idea of Community Learning mean to you, now?
Community Learning is a concept where kids are not separated into traditional classrooms. Instead, all central open spaces, corridors and outdoor areas become places for interaction and learning. Our intention is that this very special learning environment will encourage every child and every member of the school community to participate and interact more than they would in a more typically designed school. This is a school where learning can happen everywhere, in each and every one of the innovative spaces we have planned.
Watch this space for more news on the Kidzink Design and Citizens School partnership