Designing Spaces for Learning: Evolving the Coffee Shop Motif

Empty Coffe Shop (Flickr) by roeyahram under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs Generic Licence

In keeping with our idea of creative, collaborative, flexible spaces, inspired by the outdoors, we are piggybacking on the coffee shop situation as presented in Make Space: How to Set the Stage for Creative Collaboration. “The coffee shop as a place to meet and work has long been a haven for individual creative workers . . .  People actually get work done in this type of space, but they also benefit from collaborative collisions: quick tips, feedback, visibility into others’ work & working styles” (p. 224).

We see the long, narrow, counter or bar height tables that provide a view of the world as being particularly productive.

Check out this Show Me video, for further insight into our thinking.

Teachers also see these tables as usable throughout the school. Because they will be on wheels, they can be moved to classrooms, hallways, or the gymnasium, depending on their purpose.

The tables, because they are counter height, can also serve as perches. “A “perch” is a well-known term in design and furniture industry lingo. Steelcase R & D guru Frank Graziano aptly describes it as a place to pause or lean for a brief encounter . .  . Create deliberate perches to promote an active culture” (Doorley & Witthoft, p. 202).

Our coffee shop tables should be here within the next few weeks. We will post pictures when they arrive. I’m already curious about how these tables might provoke adjustments in our thinking about learning.

Doorley, S. & Witthoft, S. (2012). Make space: How to set the stage for creative collaboration. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.


About sandralbecker

An educator who is passionate about the creation of a school Learning Commons, which supports inquiry, critical thinking, and collaboration.
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