The English Schools Foundation, Hong Kong has collaborated with S+B UK Limited in creating a STEM learning and discovery space which combines environmentally friendly laboratory furniture, durability, recycling, flexibility, safety and student appeal.
ESF first used science furniture supplied by S+B over 20 years ago. Although the layout and design for the six new laboratories and three ancillary rooms are different to that which was supplied all those years ago, the Corian work surfaces originally fitted were still in excellent condition and its qualities of renewability created a great opportunity for recycling.
Via a minimal amount of surface cleansing, S+B were able to refabricate the surfaces and bring the worktops back to an ‘as new’ condition. We expect that these worktops can now provide another 25 years service. The ability to recycle in this way demonstrates that new and updated facilities can be delivered in an environmentally friendly way without any compromise to functionality or appearance and at the same time provide a significant financial saving.
The schools wanted to retain the flexibility of their existing furniture system previously installed by S+B, but had serious safety concerns about experimentations taking place on the loose tables. Their concerns centered around the fact that loose tables can be accidentally moved whilst experimentation is taking place which may include naked flames, boiling liquids and chemicals. S+B’s Xenium system addressed these safety concerns and thus was chosen for the refurbishments.
The solution was the Xenium Service Tower and Table System with its unique Intercon connection system. The Towers were serviced with gas, water and electricity and were spaced and secured around the central areas in each of the labs. Moveable tables were supplied to provide the necessary worktop space. The difference between Xenium and traditional towers and tables, is that Xenium tables can be quickly, easily and safely secured to Xenium towers to prevent accidental movement. The Xenium System allows the school to create a safe, practical group work area with great sight lines and access for the teacher to all students at any time. When the teacher wants to re-configure the room, this can be done quickly and easily by means of the Intercon release key. Additionally, the Xenium System is a modular product that does not require any site assembly work or scribing.
S+B’s regional network of agent/distributors can quickly fit-out Xenium classrooms which along with recycling the worksurfaces kept carbon footprint and cost to the schools to a minimum.
Our Hong Kong agent Darren Cheung and his team installed the labs and ancillary rooms flawlessly and without the need for UK based S+B personnel to travel. HQ support was provided by way of technical manuals and online tutorial. The success of the project owed much to the effective teamwork of ESF staff, the Architect/Project managers – Percy Thomas Partnership and the main contractors – Hon Fung Engineering and Chi Sum Engineering.
COVID was hugely disruptive to our supply chain and this did regrettably cause delays to some of our projects which despite our best and determined efforts were unavoidable. We did everything possible on all projects and on this occasion, challenges notwithstanding, we were able to complete within the original programme.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all who worked in a mutually supportive, flexible, professional and committed manner through to the successful conclusion of a project which we believe provides ESF and two of their schools with great inspirational learning spaces for many years to come.