Gen Z Demands Change: Designing Sustainable University Spaces for the Future

Gen Z Demands Change: Designing Sustainable University Spaces for the Future
The environment is Gen Z's number 1 concern. A Stanford study in 2020 shows that over 70% of Gen Z are willing to pay more for sustainable products. This has major implications for the future university fit-outs.

Which is why I'd love to take a moment to celebrate the mahi of Alexander Wastney
and his talented team at Designwell for their recent Waikato University fit out. Better project photos to follow but here's a quick sneak peek. Ātaahua bro!!!

Designwell paired Critical.'s Forest Cleanstone ( with natural timber and strand board finishes. With the Forest Cleanstone as the benchtop made using 100% salvaged and hard to recycle soft plastics and commercial fishing nets, it's a project that is regenerative to our environment. And if you look close I believe the Designwell finished the base of the table with a mirror cladding to reflect it's surroundings. Buzzy as.

I also want to acknowledge the incredible work of the team behind Harrows and their flawlessly execution of this custom fit out. Acknowledge the materials used was not typical, so this is a real testament to your craftsmanship whānau.

This sneak peek showcases the power of sustainable materials in creating beautiful and eco-conscious learning environments.

If you are a hashtagUniversity Institution, here are 3 practical steps you can take from this project into your next tertiary fit out:

🧠 Embrace Student Input: Collaborate with student groups to understand their priorities and integrate sustainable design elements they value.

🔎 Material Transparency: Choose designers like Designwell and suppliers who care about sustainable impact as much as beauty and practicality. This can fosters trust and re-aligns with student expectations.

👴 Design for Longevity and Adaptability: Opt for durable, high-quality materials like Cleanstone that are near carbon neutral and can be recycled forevery. Consider modular furniture systems to cater to evolving needs, minimising waste.

By prioritising sustainability, universities can create inspiring learning environments that attract and retain future generations of eco-conscious students.

If your working on a tertiary institution fit out where sustainability is important, I'd love to help. Send me a DM or reach out via

hashtagSustainability hashtagUniversityDesign hashtagFutureofEducation hashtagCriticalDesign hashtagWaikatoUniversity hashtagSustainableMaterials hashtagRecycledPlasticPanels hashtagFitOut hashtagCircularEconomy hashtagBiophilicDesign hashtagStudentEngagement hashtagLongevity hashtagAdaptability
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