Could iQ Shoreditch be the future of student accommodation? Showcasing a pioneering design, this unique residential project offers students a living space like no other academic housing in the capital. “We are setting a new baseline for quality student accommodation within central London,” said developer James Crow of Quintain.
Designed by author and television presenter Naomi Cleaver, the project exhibits details which are creative and forward-thinking, giving the halls of residence a distinct edge over its counterparts. “My strategy was to reflect the famously vibrant character of Shoreditch – already a mecca for young people – as well as creating a comforting sense of home for a diverse community of students from across the world,” said Cleaver. “Student accommodation is as much an expression of home as anywhere else but much of the student accommodation I had researched looked corporate to me. While security and efficiency are important, so is nurture and play.”
Drawing on the context of the surrounding urban environment was a key aspect of this creation; young artists and designers were commissioned to realise the design concept, which aimed to represent the “visual anarchy” found in the locality, to reflect Tonkin Liu’s local pavementscape and to appeal to a broad spectrum of students.
In addition to individual bedrooms, iQ Shoreditch features 24 quirky common rooms and public spaces, each demonstrating imaginative, innovative design. From the stuffed deer in The Conservatory to the iconic film posters in the TV lounges, the varied designs reflect the youthful, artistic vibrancy synonymous with the area. In the reception area circular leather seating surrounds a large tree, which acts as an unusual feature and compliments the motifs in the adjacent courtyard, designed by architect Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. In The Sky Lounge, an installation of copper rods spans the ceiling, mapping and identifying the stars, whilst string art forms a 24-hour time-lapse depiction of London’s flight path.
To encompass the varying practical needs of the students, Cleaver’s design extends beyond conventional study rooms to include a music practice room and an art room, where pinboards line the walls and large tables provide a crucial workspace for art, fashion and design students.
Placing high importance on local manufacture and resourcefulness, Cleaver used reclaimed chairs and desks adorned with ripe graffiti to furnish study rooms, and papered their walls with misprinted sheets of Shakespearean plays.
For students living their academic lives against the backdrop of this ambitious design project, their visual landscape is multifaceted. To wander through the rooms of iQ Shoreditch is to experience the many faces of the accommodation; in one room the colour tones, furnishings and features cultivate a homely, welcoming feel whilst the contemporary lighting, interior accessories and wall art in another exude as much edgy character as the borough of Shoreditch itself.