Helios Education Foundation
A designer channels the natural geology of Arizona to create an extraordinary urban space to advance post-secondary educational opportunities for the underserved. What could be more inspiring?
The Helios Education Foundation had a clear vision for its new unified campus: create a building that will last at least 100 years that is so thrilling, our partners can’t wait to come inside and exchange ideas. The architect and design teams created an atmosphere of wellness that evokes the features and colors of the nearby mountains and desert.
Visitors decompress from the moment they enter the “car park”, where works by Latin artists hang amid natural features: healing plants, native trees; a two-story cascading curtain of greenery; a rain chain; benches carved from Eucalyptus trees removed during construction then dried for a year.
The client’s emphasis on sustainability and comfort led the designer to Sossego. “So much of the other furniture looked alike,” they reflected. “The care, design, details, and human touch that went into the craftsmanship sold us. When creating indoor and outdoor spaces that invite spirited conversation, we chose materials for the Sossego pieces that play off and connect with features we incorporated, like the greenery that runs in patterns like water down angular mountain-like walls.
In this way, the raw cotton roping on the Giselle rocker draws the eye to the rope chain that’s visible from several different places in the building. “We were able to keep the same “language” from space to space. We didn’t just pick out a bunch of furniture, we chose pieces that reinforce the interior and the architecture.”