Many schools use design and the decorative arts as a learning tool. It informs both the way the building itself is decorated and also assists learning in arts-based content and subjects.
This primary and nursery school district is no exception in the heart of Paris’s 17th district. The principle of good design forms part of the school’s values alongside learning to be organised, gain knowledge, be open-minded and develop a sense of civic pride. The school is refurbished its common rooms and living areas, in particular the dining hall and the nap room for the nursery classes, as a way to pass these values on to its pupils and help inspire them in class.
The project intended to reimagine better living spaces above and beyond the usual improvements that come from refurbishing a place. Surface hygiene and material durability were two key concepts guiding how the job specifications were drawn up. The whole thing had to be aesthetically in keeping with the building’s existing style while also displaying environmental awareness.
The school management carefully set out the approach it wanted to take alongside its associated governing body acting as the client, which was then further developed by the project manager’s research. They called in Christine-Anne Jaubert, a DPLG architect, as a trusted partner to make sure the project would live up to their ambition.
The dining hall, at the centre of school life, is a common area designed to promote a sense of togetherness. It’s a place for pupils to relax but also needs to help them regain their concentration when lunchtime is over. This is why the hall had to be decorated in an eye-catching but calming way while also being easy to tidy up after each break. Given the intensive use of a communal canteen, the walls needed to be protected against hard knocks and dirt.
In line with hygiene and use requirements, the lower sections of the walls were reinforced with Acrovyn® panels to make sure that over the long term they could withstand the regular cleaning procedures and getting hit by food trays or serving trolleys.
Acrovyn® panels were installed edge to edge up to 1.10m high along all the dining hall’s walls. They protect against knocks at lunchtime and everyday scratches and marks at other times, such as when raw ingredients are being delivered or when tables and chairs are stacked up against the walls to clear the floor ready for cleaning.
Acrovyn® is shockproof and coloured all the way through so there is no risk of white marks accumulating when it gets hit by a heavy object, like a when a chair is slammed against the wall. It resists and repels deep scratches even when angular aluminium edges of platters of prepared food get scraped against its surface.
Acrovyn® is robust and highly resilient against detergents and acidic cleaners because it is made of materials designed to be not only protective but also easy to clean. Acrovyn® is naturally bacteriostatic and an excellent choice for intensive-use communal areas, making it ideal for cafeteria walls likely to suffer food splashes and stains.
Two types of Acrovyn® panels were chosen and installed in the dining hall to protect the place while focusing on decor. Panels were added to the lower part of the walls near the self-service station and the kitchen access area. Although they are in a functional location, they have a wave-shaped cut-out on the top to give the space a more playful feel. The panels were chosen in a Dove Grey colour to match the light fixtures and the brushed stainless steel of the counter top and tray slides. The same shade, as a colour that symbolises calmness, was chosen to protect the pillars.
Christine-Anne Jaubert chose the customisable version of Acrovyn® that includes Acrovyn By Design® panels to decorate the children’s and teachers’ dining area. Given the proven effect that images have on emotions and as part of the project specifications, the wall decoration incorporated visuals to create a huge fresco.
Acrovyn by Design® can incorporate a photograph or other type of visual without compromising the wall’s resistance or durability against hard knocks. It’s a decorative dividend designed for areas that see daily user traffic.
The selected visuals are printed in high definition and protected by a thin layer of PVC-free Acrovyn. It’s better for the environment and more appropriate to the theme chosen for the project’s fresco: vibrant nature photos. Like an extension of nature itself, the By Design fresco creates a link between the leafy view outside seen from the large canteen window.
Acrovyn® panels were installed halfway up to protect the nursery school’s nap room against hard knocks from beds or cleaning trolleys. They prevent deep scratches and marks on the wall plaster when the folding beds are stored away during floor maintenance.
The panels with the wave-shaped cut-out on top were chosen just like in the dining hall. The common finish brings coherence to the playful decorative style chosen by the school. The rounded cut-out creates a calming atmosphere for relaxation in the same way the Aqua Blue colour chosen for the nap room does.