Thistley Hough Academy in Stoke-on-Trent was entirely rebuilt as part of a major Building Schools for the Future programme. Work began in 2011, and we worked with the school construction team throughout 2012 and 2013 to create an interior design that would do justice to the fantastic new state-of-the-art building, and would also encourage, motivate and inspire pupils.

The new school caters for over 1000 students, and also benefits the local community by providing facilities for their use. A central part of our brief was to create a space that would inspire collaboration, hard work and pride, encouraging students to reach their full potential.

We designed furniture that encourages communication; curved seating areas place students face-to-face, and inspirational quotes have been placed on the walls in prominent areas, encouraging students to aim high in their education.

Our design runs through several areas of the new building, and our uplifting and inspiring theme continues throughout. Bold, bright colours, dramatic structured foliage and visual clues to the use of each space all help to encourage students and staff to take a positive, enthusiastic approach to their work.

A particular talking point of the project has been the bespoke digital wallpaper that we designed to reflect the history and ethos of the school. Images of inspirational characters and iconic landmarks in the area combine to create a dramatic focal point for the school boardroom. We also used this as an opportunity to celebrate the school’s history, incorporating images of the old building into the wallpaper design, so that students can be reminded of the school’s progress and journey alongside their own personal development. Images from the wallpaper have also been used in other areas, continuing the celebratory story throughout the building.

As this project involved a brand new building, we were able to specify finishes from the ground up, helping to design a space that is fit for purpose and will have the most positive impact on the people who use it.