Interior Design Reetta Lukka
Espoo, Finland, 2015

Farewell to school desks at Martinkallio School

The working environment has a decisive role when it comes to comfort and work efficiency at workplaces. The same is true for schools regarding comfort and learning. Martela’s Inspiring School concept helps create learning environments that support learning. An example of a new type of classroom can be found at Martinkallio School in Espoo.

One of the key elements of the Inspiring School concept is to provide suitable spaces that can be adapted for different activities. The spaces are always designed according to the needs of the teachers and pupils working in them.

Jaana Hakkarainen, teacher of class 5A at Martinkallio School, wanted to adapt the traditional type of classroom to better support her teaching methods. The pupils wanted a more homely classroom with cheerful colours. The result was a deskless classroom designed and installed by Martela, in which the traditional, unwieldy school desks were consigned to history. The deskless classroom has surfaces and tables, but these are easy to move and versatile and can be easily adjusted for each user.

At Martinkallio School the idea was to begin by transforming a single classroom. After only a few weeks it was clear that there was demand for this new type of classroom.

“The children can’t wait for each new school day! The teachers also enjoy their work more now that the children are happier at school. A deskless classroom gives the children freedom and responsibility over their own activities as they can choose a place to work and a position or posture that suits them,” says Hakkarainen.

She adds that the changes have made the learning environment more peaceful and pupils now feel more comfortable in their classroom.
“Pupils used to like working in the corridors, but the new furniture means that everyone wants to work in the classroom now. The children are motivated by being able to make decisions themselves about how they work, which also reduces disruptions.”

Tailored solutions for any type of space

The Inspiring School concept is all about inspirational, user-oriented learning environments.
“Inspiring spaces facilitate learning and participation, allow individual needs to be taken into account, enable adaptations for IT and promote more versatile use of the space,” says Matti Mäenpää, Advisor at Martela.

The right learning environment also allows attention to be given to developing the types of social skills that will be of increasing importance in working life.
“Design of spaces can encourage pupils to engage in social interaction, group work and project work, which are all important skills in the workplace,” says Mäenpää.

“Each solution is a unique package and the new learning environments can be tailored for any type of space. We have never had to admit defeat in any of these projects,” he adds.