When it comes to top-end student homes, the demand for purpose built student accommodation (PSBA) is rising according to recent Knight Frank report.
Providers of luxury student residences, Fusion Students is reporting record levels of demand for their next level accommodation and despite A-level results day still being weeks away, Bristol’s design-led Fusion Tower has been 100% fully booked since June for the 2017/18 academic year.
There are various factors at play to explain its success but it turns out social shareability is a very valuable currency for students when choosing their university home.
Anabel Oneiro, head of Fusion Student’s interior design team, Stride Trewglown, took time to share why she believes the company’s sites in Bristol, Nottingham, Newcastle and Cardiff are the UK’s most instagrammable places to live for students.
How have the demands on design within the PBSA sector changed in recent years?
The sector has changed dramatically. We have seen an evolution of the type of accommodation offer; not only in room types moving predominantly to studio – that we believe are now becoming situated in a majority of the markets – but also in terms of the common area provision.
This has come on incredibly in the last 3 years. We have provided everything from bookable dining rooms to swimming pools and everything in between. The student population has a lot of choice and all developers demand their own USPs.
What is your vision for the Fusion Students’ sites?
This is really a collaborative effort between Stride Treglown and Fusion Students. It very often starts with a sharing of unique spaces that we have seen or visited. Each project is different and requires a different mix of ideas. Generally speaking, the Fusion brand is unique in both its style and approach to student facilities – providing a strong identity and quality interior coupled with generous and desirable amenity space.
What makes them stand out in terms of design from other PBSA sites in the UK?
Fusion really value the aesthetic quality of their sites and understand that students are living there for one year, maybe longer, and the properties need to respond to their needs.
There is a growing trend of making space “instagrammable”, can you talk me through how the Fusion spaces are “instagrammable”?
It’s something that we spend a lot of time on – it’s really about providing an opportunity for students to share their experiences on social media taking a selfie with a neon Alice in Wonderland sign, as in our Eclipse site in Cardiff, will make your friends smile…especially if your name is Alice or like wearing stripy socks!
It’s a talking point and helps get people conversing about where they live, in a new city where you are just getting to know people, that’s important. Getting more social media coverage should be high on everybody’s radar – today is all about sharing the experience on your surroundings with others that aren’t there.
How do you design the spaces with today’s students in mind?
The student population has evolved from generation X, Y and now Z. Today students have grown up with the internet as part of their lives. Decisions are made instantly based on image and key facts which is why design is so critical.
The mix of international students has steadily increased and their needs are different from UK students but equally as important. The social aspect of student life has also changed and study is more important than ever with increasing tuition fees and pressure to achieve.
What impact do you feel the design of the Fusion sites has on the residents and their ability to study at university?
There is a greater emphasis on study and we are responding to that by providing bookable study rooms, group and individual study areas and opportunities for spaces to be used by third parties, university or corporate partners. Education, living and employment are all converging under one umbrella not only in accommodation but also in the other sectors – It’s quite an exciting time.
For more information on Fusion Students please visit www.fusionstudents.co.uk or to book a room at Fusion Tower, Eclipse in Cardiff, Nova in Nottingham or Plummer House in Newcastle, contact Collegiate on +44 1235 250 140 or visit www.collegiate-ac.com.