Class of 2020: “May the student in you live forever”

Student Furniture’s Ben Hall looks back to The Class of 2020 Conference in Vienna and summarises a few things he and the Student Furniture / LOFT Interiors team learnt during the two-day event.

Student Furniture and Loft were proud to sponsor the event, which is the leading international platform on student housing. I was also fortunate enough to sit opposite Charlie McGregor, co-founder of The Class of 2020 and CEO of The Student Hotel, at the partner dinner on the Wednesday evening.

In conversation, he summed up the aims of everyone involved:

When we began in 2011, our aim was to bring people together to share ideas and information, in an attempt to provide students with the environment and facilities they deserve by 2020….

Judging by this year’s conference, The Class of 2020 is certainly helping the industry along its way.

Learning Hubs: The Future of the University Citysquare-4

This year the theme was Learning Hubs: The Future of the University City. At one time, students had a classroom in which to learn and a dormitory bedroom in which to sleep – they were an afterthought.

The environment was institutional and students were not really regarded as the future of our society, accomodation at that time reflected this outlook. Now, though, the consensus has shifted massively.

According to 2020 co-founder, Frank Uffen, learning takes place “In hubs where minds meet, on campuses that invite you to linger and connect, in shared student kitchens, study areas and the local café.”

And you know what? I completely agree with him.

Co-living is essential to these new learning hubs. While it’s not a new concept, collective living is an alternative option for young people looking for a more flexible, modern and fulfilling way of life that works for them in the current economic climate.

These living spaces feature communal areas where students can work, rest and play, and that together leads to the fun, insightful and collaborative sharing of ideas.

Connectivity is a massive part of this – millennials are the most tech-savvy generation yet and they are able to learn from wherever they have WiFi access.

Wifi or hot water? Wi-Fi, obviously!

In 2013 Student Furniture conducted a survey of 1,000 students and asked them if they’d prefer Wi-Fi or hot water in their accommodation: a staggering 873 student chose Wi-Fi.
I suppose that’s millennials for you.

Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) designed to keep up with this new connected and collaborative breed of students is what’s required right away.

In some places, though, it is already happening.

Student Furniture is excited to be a part of this revolution in student housing and believe our design-led furnishing solutions fit perfectly with the co-living movement we have seen develop over the last few years.

Introducing our Tesse and BLOK sofas

At the conference we launched two new pieces: two unique modular sofas that can be adapted in different ways to suit the user, depending on what they’re doing: whether that’s studying, socialising or relaxing, with peers or individually.

Both pieces link to the concept of building blocks: allowing adaptability and creativity while remaining strong, durable pieces suitable for the student lifestyle.

Student Furniture believes that the industry should work harder to create well-designed environments that encourage community, co-living and personal growth.

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