top of page

Library Redesign

Design Challenge (Team of 4)| 3 Weeks| 2018

Library redesign for open space at the Shapiro Library at the University of Michigan

This projext is for a design competition.The University of Michigan’s space for the Big Ten Student Design Challenge is an open lab space in the Shapiro Library. It is centrally located, but not currently well-defined. The goal of this project is to redesign the Library using furniture selected from the Herman Miller product selections.

​Our Team

Asset 1_4x.png

Jingwen Li


​Yiyi Gao

Screen Shot 2022-02-22 at 12.33.53 PM.png

​Rui Xu


Yining Chen


My Role:

Design Research, Interior Design, Budget Control & Design Proposal

Big Ten Challenge 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. Students, librarians, and faculty regularly pass by this space on their way through the library to find materials, expertise, services, and study areas.

  • ​Redesign the library space through thoughtful selection and placement of furnishings

Design Challenge Criterias
  • Select up to $80,000 worth of furnishings from the Herman Miller Custom Catalog provided for the Big Ten competition

  • Optionally select up to $5000 of items outside of the Herman Miller Custom Catalog to enhance the space

​Original Floor Plan & Area Overview

​Open Space


​No Privacy

​High- Traffic Area

Hundreds of students, dozens of staff, and many faculty pass through this space on a daily basis. The Shapiro Library is open 24/7 throughout almost the entire academic year

This space sits in a prime location, along a corridor and conduit across two major buildings, with existing access to computing and is highly visible. It is a location students already use as a "landing space" for their work, but could offer much more to students to support their academic work and foster deeper collaboration

Current States
Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 5.22.12 PM.png

Computer lab near by the area

Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 5.23.18 PM.png

​Two fixed pillars in the middle

IMG_6450 2.JPG

Unorganized layout

Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 5.22.41 PM.png

No direct access to natural light


​On-Site Observations & Insights

​What students are trying to do in this space:


Quick Meeting

Individual Study




​What is lacking:

​Discussion Area


​Calming Elements

​Storages for Backpacks

Additional Seating Options

Interviews & Student Research

“What kind of improvement do you want the library to have?” 

Asset 1_4x.png

“The long table that the library has is not friendly for individual study because students don't want to sit right next to each other. It is also not friendly for group work because students don't want to have group conversations while sitting with many other students at the same table.” 

“I want to have a place to relax and chill after hours of hard work” 

Problems, Reasons, and Solutions
Asset 2_4x.png

The high-traffic makes the space not suitable for a quiet study space. Therefore, it is possible to make it into a collaborative, playful, and visually interesting environment while still enabling students to study as they do in a library. According to the research that we did, most students want more seating area and better library layout. In addition to that, some students wish that the library to be fun and playful, which means to incorporate some natural elements or other relaxation elements to reduce the stress for student.

Design Mission & Concept

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
Study Area.jpeg
Relax Area.jpeg
Before & After
IMG_6450 2.JPG
Study Area.jpeg
Relax Area.jpeg

*: In the $5,000 Budget

​Furniture Selection Detail:


Space #2: 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.  

Space #1: 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.

Study Area.jpeg
Study Area.jpeg
Relax Area.jpeg


Space #3: 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.

Relax Area.jpeg

Space #4: 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.

Budget Control: 
Screen Shot 2019-03-12 at 10.19.25
Screen Shot 2019-03-12 at 10.18.30
Design Proposal:
Screen Shot 2022-02-25 at 12.45.10 AM.png

**Click to view the business plan document

bottom of page