The MailBox, which was once described by its owner as ‘the ugliest building in Stockport’, has been fully transformed with apartments and an expansive, stylish multi-functional co-working space. The final piece of the puzzle that has just been completed is a college for disabled young people embarking on their journey into adulthood; developing the skills and knowledge needed to fulfil ambitions in life and employment.
Manchester-based Select Interiors (Cheshire) Ltd worked on the £750,000, six-phase non-residential element of the redevelopment. This started with transforming part of the old sorting office turn into innovative co-working space and has just been completed with the huge task of repurposing a former furniture showroom into a specially designed Pure College facility.
The Pure College attendees all have neurodiverse needs and a neurodiverse design team at Select Interiors (Cheshire) ltd worked on the project meaning they had deep understanding of what was needed for the design.
Pale blue and green were chosen for the colour scheme as they are known to be calming and restful. The colour blocking effect adds interest and makes the space feel bigger by taking the walls back. The design team at Select chose all task lighting to mimic daylight without too much blue light as neurodiversity can result in sensitivity to certain types of light. Soft and calming lighting was used in the communal areas to offer a chance to wind down from the stimulation in the classrooms themselves.
Kaylie Crompton, head of college, said: “Pure College was launched in 2022, and we very quickly outgrew our previous space. Our new building can better accommodate the needs of our growing cohort. We have moved into a beautiful space that has been perfectly designed to consider the day to day working needs of both staff and students. Students have really engaged well with the new College; particularly the shared spaces, which have promoted social interaction and communication between all the classes. The Select Interiors (Cheshire) designers really captured our vision of preparing students for the world of work and the College feels very professional. The copious storage spaces allow us to provide a clutter free environment which is very important for Autistic people to be able to engage effectively in their learning. Designers took the time to listen to and understand how our students best learn and allowed plenty of space for down time.”
Sustainable Losnay heat recovery units were incorporated which have +95% energy efficiency. They also offer fresh air circulation and this type of ventilation works well for neurodiverse needs as it circulates fresh air so no smells linger in the environment.
The college features three large classrooms, office space, staff room, an expansive and sociable kitchen area as well as other informal seating and communal areas, plus toilets.
Select Interiors (Cheshire) also completed the coworking space upstairs. The two storey offce features 17 separate office units with a shared boardroom, kitchen and lockers. The imaginative design was inspired by a ziggurat, an ancient, terraced structure with receding storeys or levels. Additional office space was incorporated by taking advantage of the ceiling height and adding in a mezzanine level, which joined the existing level via a bridge with standout zebra crossing style graphics.
The striking scheme features Crittall glazing, black timber screens and a monochrome colour scheme with pops of accent colour in wall graphics and soft furnishings. The look is softened with plenty of greenery, which aims to mimic the enormous plant wall on the exterior of the building. Select Interiors (Cheshire) completed design and fit out of the scheme including demolition, mechanical, ventilation and electrical works.
Owner of Select Interiors (Cheshire), Carl Brown, comments: “Working on the Mailbox has been a joy for us as it’s an iconic landmark in Stockport that was once an eyesore and now is a great space for residents, workers and college goers. Neurodiversity is something that’s very close to my heart and it was an honour to be able to design the Pure College space and make it functional on a number of different levels.”
Other projects recently completed include a Digital Advantage college in Central Manchester and Bowdon Church School in Bowdon, Cheshire.
Select Interiors (Cheshire) Ltd has been trading for 35 years and is a Manchester-based design studio that also completes fit-out for hospitality, retail and industrial spaces and more.