ROC professional training school in Apeldoorn | icon 054 | December 2007

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Words Anna Bates

Blown-up textbook illustrations decorate two workspaces of the ROC professional training school in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands.

Dutch designer Jurgen Bey printed the illustrations onto existing desks, chairs and flooring in the school’s technical and leisure and tourism departments. “I made a landscape using the language of the courses,” says Bey. “It doesn’t mean anything to me, but the students will understand it. It’s like a code for them.”

Bey was one of a group of four designers (including Tjep, Tejo Remy and Rene Veenhuizen) who were asked to create reception areas, independent workspaces and discussion rooms for different departments across ROC.

“The attitude now is that schools should be like businesses,” says Bey. “Economics has become so involved – every hour of the day has to be organised. There should be time to experiment.” In contrast to suggestions made by the school, which teaches pupils from age 16 upwards, Bey made the space open plan with movable curtains so students can create areas of privacy. “School shouldn’t be a closed private working space,” he adds. “It should be an open public space where there is room to be creative and make mistakes. This space is bright and light – you have energy when you’re in it.”

The designers were commissioned by consultancy Kunst en Bedrijf, which links creatives to public and private projects. “The ten departments used to be in separate buildings,” says consultancy director Gabi Prechtl. “The school was anxious that each department would lose its identity in the new building, so the designers were asked to design areas that would connect the space to the department."

images Roel Van Tour

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