Case Study - Northumbria University

Business Clients Work

Uni campus gets makeover to help students work and play What colours best enable a learning environment? That was the challenge laid down to Ryder Architects and designers Smith for a student-centred project at Northumbria University in Newcastle. The uni’s five floor Student Central building opened in 2017 on the City Campus site in Newcastle and is a place for the university’s 26,000 students to mix, revise, unwind and socialise. This was a multi-million pound investment by the university, revamping the original 1969 library into a light and airy space, containing all of the facilities that today’s students need.


The finished space - Student Central - is now the ‘go-to’ location for students to get information, guidance and support from a range of student support advisers, including Student Support and Wellbeing, Faculty, Careers, Finance, Accommodation, Library and Course Enquiries.

In keeping with a modern facility, the look and feel of the space is equally bright and modern - with a colour palette chosen in association with Dulux Trade.

A palette of ten soft pastels drawn from Dulux ColourFuturesTM palettes were chosen by the expert colour team at Dulux Trade designed to enhance the light and airy feel of the space. The range of blues, lilacs, greens, reds, yellows and greys such as Wooded Solace, Twisted Bamboo and Gooseberry Fool 4 are subtle and allow the users to switch seamlessly between the serious business of study to letting their hair down.


The soft and earthy tones of Pebble Drift 3 created space that is calming and allows students to focus and work in a flexible environment.

This bright and versatile colour scheme was followed through into a full range of matching soft furnishings, carpets, lighting units, light shades, desks, and booths.


Helen-Hampson Smith, from Smith, says:

"This project followed a successful first phase within the basement of the library where we refurbished a large study and social space. We were very pleased to be called back to continue the great design in the remaining areas of the building.

Working alongside Ryder architects as their interior design consultants, and with key members of the faculty, we developed the dynamic design to form a creative yet welcoming feeling throughout.

The Dulux Trade colour palettes were perfect for us to use in key areas to create focus points and accents, while giving harmony to the full scheme."


Rob Pace, Dulux Trade Emerging Sector Manager, says:

"Our ColourFuturesTM palettes are a great starting point for professionals to create schemes for multi-use areas like Student Central. They provide a flexible and easily adaptable starting point that can help achieve different outcomes for occupants depending on the purpose of each space within the building.

It’s great to see Smith use them here as a springboard to create a space that is helping ensure students are able to feel both comfortable and focused as and when required."

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