Right now, it is a quiet moment at the Grand Opening of the University of Michigan, School of Education, Brandon Center.
I came for the technology.
They are all set up comfortable large and small collaboration spaces discreetly and tastefully embedded with technology. They have large touch screens, little iPads, media:scape screens and controllers to easily allow small groups to rapidly shift screensharing from person to person. Lots of network, lots of outlets, lots of power, lots of options. But while you might come for the tech, you’ll stay for the comfort.
I was given a tour by Chris Quintana, who you see in one of the pics resting in what is being called a shimmy chair. It shimmies because it can swivel in two directions at once. The seat swivels, the back swivels, and you can end up curled up in a little nest, with your legs draped over the side, like Chris is doing. Or you can sit as if it is a traditional chair, like Barry. I exclaimed when I saw the booths, “This is where I would live!” Chris commented, “Yeah, we hear that a lot.” Take-away lesson? More booths, more booths!
If tech and comfort aren’t enough, it is just beautiful.
The design and colors are bold, simple, clean, warm, comfortable. I could see using this palette for my kitchen or dining room. It is just comfortable, and makes you feel at home. The flexibility of the technology is extended into the spaces, with both fixed and movable areas. You can see the subtle design touches and attention to detail in some of the photos. Very, very nice space, visually.
If that’s not enough, they have batches of fun stuff out just for today (but some of us are suggesting that some gamification of the space might serve the community well in the long run).
Definitely worth a visit, and at this point it looks like a good model for other spaces on campus. And you, of course, know what the next step is.