Can the physical environment affect learning in school?

In the 'Classroom by' project, the interior design group Kinnarps is collaborating with experts on learning spaces. They were asked to create their ideal classroom and explain their choice of interior design. The purpose is to show how the physical environment in schools can affect learning and support students in achieving their full potential.

Can the physical environment affect learning? Kinnarps is convinced that it can, and this view is supported by both school staff and researchers. A properly designed learning space promotes health, improves performance and creates security for both teachers and students. In order to investigate the issue more deeply, Kinnarps is cooperating with experts in the school world. In the learning space project 'Classroom by', principal Elisabet Ingemarsson, school designer, educational facility planner and researcher Peter C. Lippman, and Hjärnberikad & Kaka Architects designed their ideal classrooms and explained their choice of interior design. Some perspectives recur among all of them, such as individualised, active, wholeness, security, overview and movement, but there are also differences.

"It has been an incredibly rewarding collaboration and interesting to see how the three classrooms have developed. For us at Kinnarps, it's important to create learning spaces that really support students and teachers in their day-to-day work. We know how good the result can be if you take the time to identify and map the needs and involve all participants in a change process to a new learning space before an interior design solution is decided on."

Johanna Walden, Concept Marketing Manager at Kinnarps AB

Through its own experience and contact with researchers, teachers, physiotherapists and other experts in the school world, Kinnarps has, over the years, acquired a thorough knowledge of learning and its connection to the physical environment. For Kinnarps, the importance of the design of the physical environment in schools is obvious. Every individual is different. For example, some students need peace and quiet, while others need the opportunity for movement. In an inclusive learning space, there should therefore be variation in the interior design, so that the students can choose the best place to suit the task in hand, feel that they have a say and develop on the basis of their own abilities. This is also why Kinnarps is currently building a test classroom at its headquarters in Kinnarp, Sweden. Schools and their students are welcomed there to spend a day holding lessons and finding out which classroom furnishing suits them best. On 60 square meters a real classroom has been built up, where the interior design can be customised to suit different learning situations.

In order to create tailor-made learning spaces based on each unique school's conditions and needs, Kinnarps also offers learning space analyses. Anders Larsson, Next Education Concept Manager at Kinnarps AB, works with schools before, during and after changes to their physical environment by mapping needs, involving staff and students and carrying out these analyses.

"For us, school issues are incredibly important and motivating because they concern our children's future. But one perspective that's often lacking in discussions about schools is the connection between the physical environment and learning. We want to change this. The issue should be raised already in teacher training courses and when school buildings are planned."

Anders Larsson, Next Education Concept Manager at Kinnarps AB

Read more about the 'Classroom by' project, Next Education® and Kinnarps learning space analysis at There you can also find classroom sketches, films, product lists, reference cases and interviews.


For more information, please contact:

Johanna Walden
Concept Marketing Manager
+46 (0)515 38363

About Kinnarps

Kinnarps delivers interior design solutions for offices, schools and healthcare facilities. The entire value chain is characterised by high quality and low environmental impact – from raw materials to finished solutions. Kinnarps is one of Europe's biggest manufacturers of interior design solutions for workplaces, with operations in 40 countries and a Group turnover of over SEK 4.2 billion. Kinnarps was founded in 1942 by Jarl and Evy Andersson. It remains a wholly-owned family business.

About the Kinnarps Next Concept

NEXT OFFICE®, NEXT EDUCATION® AND NEXT CARE® are Kinnarps' concepts for developing customised work environments for offices, schools and healthcare facilities. This means mapping and analysing the business, involving the management team and employees in the change process and, with this knowledge as a base, creating customised work environments.