McLoughlin Scoop Dulux Connect Award For Cutting-Edge Design Of Student Digs


When it comes to student accommodation, skilful use of colour and design is essential for creating environments that inspire and energise occupants, while supporting their wellbeing during a time of great change.

For accommodation provider Urbanest, their aim is to provide students with a home away from home, with comfortable bedrooms and studio apartments, complete with flexible work spaces and facilities, situated in highly desirable and social areas of London.

To help them achieve this end, McLoughlin was tasked with decorating Urbanest’s recently-built 32-storey student accommodation block on Miles Street in Vauxhall, on behalf of main client Balfour Beatty.

McLoughlin used contrasting shades from the Dulux Trade range to seamlessly zone areas for specific functions - such as whites and light browns in calm spaces for study and bright reds and greens for vibrant social hubs - while painting every aspect of the building, from ceilings and walls to woodwork and staircases.

“For students, the rooms are a bit like a blank canvas, so they're usually neutral or white,” explains Charlotte Page, Procurement Officer at McLoughlin. “But the communal areas tend to involve more colour so they are bright and welcoming spaces for them.”

As well as using water-based paints such as Dulux Trade Diamond Matt, applied by traditional brush and roller methods, McLoughlin used cutting-edge technology to apply digital one-piece murals of the London landscape in each of the 454 cluster bedrooms and studio apartments in the building.

For the clear mastery of design principles and skilful colour choices demonstrated by the team, while adopting innovative, specialist techniques, McLoughlin won the Dulux Connect Award for Best Use of Colour And Design.

“The one-piece murals were digitally-printed iconic photos of the London skyline, including London Bridge, Tower Bridge and The Gherkin,” Charlotte says.

“Because it’s a seamless one-piece, you don't have two rolls you need to match together. It's new technology compared to the standard rolls of wallpaper and it gives off a better finish because you don't have any lines.

“It looks better, it won't peel off and will last a lot longer.”

To enable McLoughlin to apply the murals, the team’s wallpaper expert received specialist training, which was held by Vista Digital, the company that makes the coverings.

As well as demonstrating precision and technical skill, McLoughlin’s team of 10 painters and decorators finished the project a month before they were expected to complete it, thanks to their hard work, professionalism and dedication.

“It all ran smoothly,” she says. “We had the right balance of people on site, and our team and supervisors were working well together.”

Charlotte says the team were “really happy” to win the Dulux Connect Award for the work they carried out at Ubernest Miles Street project, because they were “proud” of both their use of technical expertise and working on such a large-scale project.

“We have painted various student accomodation for Urbanest before, so we are used to doing projects like this, but this one was on a much larger scale and also they have never included wallpaper coverings before,” she says.

“Everyone was really impressed by them. We’re very happy.”

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