Nursery, Dubai

Designed by: Roar (formerly Pallavi Dean Interiors)
For client: Prime Minister's Office Floor area: 600.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Learning Space of the Year

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The classrooms have large skylights that flood the space with natural light and have direct access to the outdoor play area. all the joinery is custom designed and fabricated in the UAE. Chairs by community playthings.

About the Project

We designed a space where children would not just learn specific skills such as maths and reading, but would fall in love with learning itself. That meant designing a learning experience that’s playful, stimulating and social. Learning by doing is so much more powerful than a conventional lecture-style set up.
For early years learning, there’s an added layer of responsibility, because you have to do all of this in a nurturing environment that makes the children feel safe, secure and happy. They’re finding their way in the world and they’re highly impressionable, so the impact of the interior design on their emotional and physical well-being is crucial.
The design brief was to create a world-class learning experience that instills the habits of innovation and futurism that will stay with children for life. One of the ways we bring this theory to life is by shunning traditional classrooms, instead creating ‘learning studios’. These spaces are flexible, adaptable and nimble, to accommodate different teaching and learning styles. They break down the ‘them and us’ barriers that exist between teachers and children in many education spaces, replacing them with a fluid, sociable, inclusive environment.

What’s unique about it

The narrative of the design was inspired by the image of a gentle, protective cloud. It was important to make sure every aspect allowed little ones to completely immerse themselves in their physical environment, naturally navigating according to their individual paces of learning.” The design team incorporated the latest research from paediatric neuroscience to inform the design. The design is very conscious of the fact that during the first three years of life, a child’s brain will form more than a trillion neurological connections known as synapses. You won’t find bright colours and cartoon characters. Instead, surfaces are neutral to encourage children and educators to become the main sources of stimulation.
Another example: moving away from screen-based technology to an environment where child-safe technology is integrated into floors and walls. With the touch of a little hand, surfaces light up or display nature-inspired images or children’s artworks. We believe that all elements of a school’s environment – physical and human, interior and exterior – impact its educational framework, so it was imperative that the structure be transformed into a third, ‘silent’ educator, that also facilitates bonding, learning and self-discovery. The team used emerging design methodology and materials to create the design. In one approach, we employed computational design to create a sculptural reception space with free-flowing curved ceiling and walls.

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We created a mirror installation on the ceiling in baby changing area - doing away with the conventional store bought mobiles - the babies can catch a reflection of themselves in the mirror - making nappy changing a more pleasant experience!

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Sinks at teacher and student height within the classrooms . custom designed joinery made locally.

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We used computational techniques to design and fabricate the metal finsto create this abstract cloud shape. The fins have gold shaped 'raindrops' that act as a support structure (see splash pad image for detail)

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Animation wall at drop -off has moving graphics filled with drawings made by the children.

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The 0-2 year classroom in monochromatic - at this age children like high contrast. The play wall features the skyline of Dubai. A kaleidoscope mirror installation above the soft play area showcases reflection of the room and the children - adding interest

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We didn't neglect the sleeping rooms - bubble shaped pods add to this futuristic theme. The entire ceiling has fiber optic lighting that simulates the starry night effect!

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Classrooms for 2-3 years and 3-4 years have direct access to the small splash play area and outdoor trike track.

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Research shows that children find curves far more soothing than harsh angles, but constructing rooms with right angles is much easier. We solved this problem by using parametric design skills, then working with a boat-builder in Dubai to make it. The drop

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At the heart of the 600-square-metre nursery is called Mars Lab – a nod to the UAE’s ambitious Mars space programme. The Mars Lab is a community space, where children of all ages, along with teachers and parents, gather in large or small groups. it's a bl

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