I've never known a capital project to have such an immediate and profound impact on the pupils; an absolute gear change in maturity and focus...

Neil M Burch MSciSenior Master, Bradfield College

Bradfield College, nestled in the Berkshire countryside, stands as a quintessential British co-educational boarding and day school, built on foundations dating back to the nineteenth century. The school’s original chapel, erected in 1891 and spanning tow floors, underwent a transformative refurbishment in 2023, emerging as the St. Andrew’s Study Centre, a contemporary library and study space tailored for students.

In March 2023, Showcase PSR Portsdown secured the tender to modernise the historic space. Their objective was clear: to blend the rich history of the chapel which met modern arrangements of education and study. Guided by the motto of the St. Andrew’s Study Centre, “Creating a contemporary workspace in a historical setting…”, the project took place over a two-week installation period in February 2024.

Scope & Services

Showcase PSR Portsdown worked closely with the architects, Squires and Brown, alongside Bradfield College’s faculty and students. Recognising the pivotal role of community involvement, selected students participated in supplier visits and contributed valuable insights into product selection. The design approach aimed to infuse modernity into the space while respecting its heritage, with special attention given to areas like the sanctuary, tailored for quiet study.

An array of furniture was selected to cater to diverse needs, from study tables with integral lighting to lounge chairs and cafeteria furniture. The architects’ vision for the building was clear, focusing on providing quality products that would stand the test of time. Showcase PSR honoured this by sourcing modern and sustainable task chairs, specifically the Orangebox ‘Allow Me’ chairs, chosen by the environmentally aware students.

Showcase PSR provided study tables, sofas, booths, meeting chairs, tables, flexible tables, lounge chairs, and cafeteria furniture. These were designed to accommodate both group and independent study. The students appreciated the designed innovation of the chairs, which improve productivity and well-being, are suitable for agile environments, and are very lightweight.

The order was carefully managed to align with the building’s completion. Given the total repurposing of the building, the timescales for the build were flexible, as the client understood the challenges the contractors would face in refurbishing such as unique space. Although the original installation was scheduled for December 2024, it was later moved to February 2024. PSR managed the entire process, ensuring manufacturing was delayed to avoid unnecessary storage and to coincide with the building’s completion.

Surveys were completed, and mood boards were produced for sign-off, along with material swatches. Selecting the right materials for the building was critical. Showcase PSR’s interior designers worked closely with the architects and the client to achieve the desired outcomes. The Showcase PSR Portsdown furniture selection team chose Agua and Camira fabrics for their high wool content, sustainability, natural dirt resistance, and Crib5 fire safety rating.

Success Points

To meet the unique challenges posed by the building’s architecture, bespoke solutions were implemented, such as Frovi lighting to address the challenge of high ceilings and the provision of custom cushions and tables in the chancel area to preserve the integrity of the choir stalls.

Given that the students and staff were environmentally and sustainability-conscious, a very considered approach was required, which Showcase PSR Portsdown was happy to adopt, sharing mutual values and commitment to sustainability.

No detail was overlooked, resulting in an extremely happy client and an enriched environment for the students, meeting their sustainability standards as well as their comfort and lifestyle needs.

The transformation of the chapel into the St. Andrew’s Study Centre at Bradfield College exemplifies successful collaboration and innovative design. Showcase PSR’s careful planning and attention to detail, along with the input from the college community, resulted in a modern, sustainable space that honours the building’s history.

The project’s success lies in its ability to merge tradition with innovation, providing an enriched learning environment for students while meeting their sustainability standards and comfort needs.

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