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Library Redesign

for Open Space at the Shapiro Library, University of Michigan


Big Ten Student Design Challenge

Sponsored by Big Ten Universities and Herman Miller

Space Overview

The University of Michigan’s space for the Big Ten Student Design Challenge is an open lab space in the Shapiro Library. It is a centrally located, but not currently well-defined, space, adjacent to a SITES computing lab on a central floor that serves as a conduit between the Shapiro Library and the Hatcher Graduate Library. Students, librarians, and faculty regularly pass by this space on their way through the library to find materials, expertise, services, and study areas. ​

Current State

This area serves as a pathway from the Shapiro Library to the Hatcher Graduate Library, as this floor connects to the second floor of the Hatcher Graduate Library via a sky bridge. Hundreds of students, dozens of staff, and many faculties pass through this space on a daily basis.


Floor Plan


Our Design Vision

Our mission is to care for all students' mental and physical well-being in the context of the library, by the multi-functional space that we created. Our assigned space is right next to the staircase and the elevator, connecting three separate areas with different functions and intentions. Based on our user research, we decided to make it into a collaborative, visually playful, and self-adjustable environment while still enabling students to study as they do in a library. Our design contains a resting area, a collaboration area, and a few semi-private individual seats with different intentions so that any student passing by would be enlightened in some way. On a unique note, we incorporated elements of biophilic design (ex. moss wall) and colorful toys (ex. stress balls) to emphasize our motive of mental wellness.

Final Design

Relax Area_edited.jpg
Study Area.jpeg

Furniture Selection Detail

                               STUDY AREA


Space #3: Collaborative Working Space 

Public Office Landscape Desk & Social Chair: We picked this desk & chairs set to create a collaborative working area while allowing semi-private personal working spaces to be available whenever is needed during group work.

Single Cafe Table with power Access: These Table with power access can be incorporated with the seating described above, providing the power access that every student need while working, also enables extra table space or extra seating for friends to study with.

Eames Side Chair: These chairs are very fashionable and easily movable. The style goes along with the Public Office Landscape Desks and Chairs very well.

*Eames Storage: The style of the storage echoes with the Eames Side Chair, with divides the end of this working space and the back of the Circular Community Space. We plan to put colorful destress toys on the shelves so that when students get frustrated with homework, they get to access an outlet for their stress right on sight.


Space #4: Semi-Private Individual Space

*Customized Seating Frame with Wall Light on the Top: In order to make the most of the tight space between the wall and the storage door, we decided to mount two customized seating frames on the wall.

*Moss Wall: Biophilia hypothesis is defined by Edward O. Wilson as "the urge to affiliate with other forms of life" in his book, Biophilia (1984). The living moss on the wall invites students over to embrace the inspirations that nature brings to them.

*Accent Tables: Accent Tables can be used anywhere. Since they are movable, people who sit on the seating frame can have somewhere handy to put their coffee or books, while people who sit in the Collaborative Working Space can move them over to extend their work space if they are not being used.  

                         RELAX AREA


Space #1: Playful Entrance Space

*Wood Swing Chair: For those who tend to get sick of sitting on indoor seating, a swing inside would connect their brains to blue sky, grass, playground……and everything else associated with happy times and childhood. It is a unique experience of things taken out of its context.

*Bean Bag: And for those who enjoy a home-like seating, the two bean bags we place around the large white pillar allows them to sit on the ground to their own preferences. It can also help to decor the pillar.

Space #2: Cozy Conversational Space

Steps Lounge system: We took two segments from the Steps Lounge System to enclose one side of this small circular community space. The round shape also creates a conversation environment and a little privacy.

Always Lounge Chair: Defining the other side of the circular community space, enclosing it away from the bean bags and the swings. It helps to balance the weight of the composition of this circular space, providing individual seating in a conversational setting.

Knot Table: The Knot Table can be used by people sitting either on the Steps Lounge System or on the Always Lounge Chair. It is also the center of this community space, defined by the Arch Lamp next to the Steps Lounge System. The detail of the Knot Table brings joyful elements to the combination and the size of the product makes it easier to move around if needed.

*Arc Lamp: The most eye-catching element of this area. While providing extra lighting to the space, the Arc Lamp defined this space to be “one” through a visually appealing way.

*: In the $5,000 Budget

Budget Control

  • Select up to $80,000 worth of furniture from the Herman Miller Catalog

  • Optionally select up to $5000 of additional items

  • The university has roughly $15,000 to purchase materials and labor for flooring and wall treatment

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Jingwen Li (Interior Design, Budget Control & Design Proposal) 

Yiyi Gao (Interior Design, Diagram & Rendering Assistant)

Rui Xu (Interior Design & Rendering)

Yining Chen (Interior & Budget Control)

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