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Tangram Interiors Remodel of High School CTE Classrooms Enhances Flexibility, Creativity, Motivation and Collaboration



The Fresno team for Tangram Interiors, a curator of highly creative commercial interior environments and workspaces, recently completed a remodeling of the Career Technical Education (CTE) classrooms at Sunnyside High School in Fresno, Calif.


As the national economy and workforce continue to evolve, there has been a resurgence of CTE curriculum for all high school students. Benefits of this approach include higher graduation rates, increased progression to higher education and higher earnings. Along with this trend has come the need to rethink education spaces by incorporating adaptability to varied teaching and learning styles as well as integration of current technology resources to encourage collaboration and interaction.


According to Tamela Ryatt, Photography and Marketing Instructor, the most important aspect of the project was to create an environment where students can work both independently and collaboratively, not only with one another, but with industry partners by way of guest presenters and Skype sessions.


Meeting that goal involved restructuring a fine-art, black & white photography classroom and darkroom into a multimedia photography and marketing classroom and studio. Bulky 3’ x 5’ tables that severely hindered movement in the space were replaced by integrated Node desk/chair units from Steelcase that offer a high level of flexibility along with better accommodation of taller students.


Ryatt cites three benefits of the Node units:

  • Baskets under the seats allow students to stow backpacks, keeping them off the floor and other furniture.
  • Seating configurations are changeable in minutes, from a circle to small group to stadium-style.
  • A colorful and inviting environment excites students and draws them into the classroom.


As an instructor with a creative and marketing mindset, Ryatt also noted that it was the Tangram website style that initially attracted her to the firm as a potential partner on the project.


“I knew I wanted to mimic as closely as possible what it would be like for my students to be in an advertising agency or marketing firm that has a photography studio,” she said. “The environments we create should promote creativity, collaboration and movement. Tangram provided all of that and more!”


She also reports that her students are the envy of everyone on campus. In fact, other students drop by and ask if they can sit in one of the chairs. Significantly, her students are more confident and comfortable while working. And their collaboration seems effortless as they pair up or move across the room with ease.


The remodeling also included a new, bar-height table used for department meetings to discuss curriculum and analyze data that gives the feel of stepping away from school into a contemporary meeting place where creativity flows more easily.


In addition to its core furniture offering, Tangram Interiors operates five business units for a complete approach to workplace design and installation: flooring, architecture walls, custom furniture, move management and technology. The Tangram Studio division is focused on custom and co-designed workplaces, while Tangram Technology creates unified ecosystems incorporating audiovisual, acoustics, lighting and sound masking. This range of services allows for a top-to-bottom approach that places each aspect of office planning, design and installation under careful consideration to maximize utility and comfort for the people who make organizations run.


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