Student Housing Business

JUL-AUG 2018

Student Housing Business is the voice of the student housing industry.

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FURNITURE July/August 2018 80 Furnishing For Success Today's students seek modern, multifunctional furniture that optimizes space, incorporates current technology and promotes productivity — both socially and academically. By Katie Sloan O Over the course of the last few years, the industry has seen a shift in the look and feel of student housing developments. The ritzy, over-the-top amenities that were once en vogue are being traded in for group and indi- vidual study spaces built to further academic discovery and fuel student success. This trend is extending past the clubhouse and lounge, and into the units themselves, where students are looking to furnish their living quarters with multifunctional piec- es that optimize space and promote higher productivity. "As living spaces continue to get small- er, we see a trend toward multifunctional furniture and a more compact, streamlined footprint," says Laurie Provin, director of marketing at University Furnishings. "Very often, there is room for the essentials and not much more, so pieces that are included must be highly functional and ideally serve dual purposes, all while looking modern and stylish." "Things that weren't considered in the past are now paramount," she continues. "Does it accommodate their technology use, for exam- ple? Does it have integrated power so they can charge one of the five devices they typi- cally use during the day?" Today's student is looking for more than just furniture — they're looking for ways to work more efficiently and build an environment for themselves that pro- motes success. Current Trends With micro-units and more affordable stu- dent housing on the rise, furniture that is scaled back in size and promotes use for a number of activities is in demand. Jeff Zeng, CEO of Blue Furniture Solutions, notes that furniture today needs to be smaller, provide more storage and incorporate a younger look- ing, more modern style to appeal to today's student. "Multifunctional custom pieces are getting noticed," says Zeng. "We have a new client that has micro-units, and they are looking to combine the function of a dining table with a study desk. We have custom designed a desk that is extra long to accommodate their needs." Provin of University Furnishings has also seen a rise in the incorporation of furniture that allows students to accomplish a variety of tasks. "Rather than a focus on study-related pieces, I would say there is a focus on multi- tasking pieces that can be used for studying, but also for other things," she says. "Laptops and wi-fi have made it possible to study just about anywhere, so students aren't as tied to a desk or even to their apartments as they have been in the past. Couple that with a need to optimize space and it becomes even more important to offer flexible multiuse pieces." Curtis Cook, chief business development officer of The AUS Way, notes that Generation Z is classified as self-starting multitaskers. Furniture for them will need to be useful or they will see it as unnecessary. Micro-units with more storage, the incorporation of technology and young, modern styling and color finishes are trends currently being seen in the student housing space, according to Jeff Zeng, CEO of Blue Furniture Solutions.

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