toucan team

Plymouth University Counselling Pods


Plymouth University


Graphic Interior


In 2014 Plymouth University further developed its student counselling provision by setting aside an area of the ground floor within the Roland Levinsky Building specifically for this purpose. Ten counselling cubes (or pods) were constructed - fully enclosed, painted uniformly white, and with a single inset light in the ceiling. It was felt that the individual spaces being quite small, and despite having a glass door, felt confined and somewhat claustraphobic, which was far from an ideal situation given their intended purpose.


We developed a bright and uplifting colour palette which we married to a series of especially commissioned photographs of local landscapes. Expressive typography was added in the form of lyrics written by the award-winning folk singer/songwriter Seth Lakeman. The frosting on the glass panels allows privacy for those within whilst allowing light to flood each pod.

Sometimes at the University we have to help and support students who are in a fragile or emotional frame of mind with questions about health, diet, finance and other personal matters to share with our specialist consultants and advisers. We created a series of interview 'pods' to provide confidential space but by necessity these are small in scale, brightly lit and impersonal in style.

Following the official opening of this space we received complaints about the appearance and operation of the pods and Toucan were asked to soften these environments, make the space in which they are housed more appealing to the various audiences, young and not so young, and to reflect the close links we have to our marine environs.

TG, Plymouth University

The basic requirement was to significantly enhance the space, making it an area that was more conducive to the purpose for which it is intended. In short the pods needed to:

  • be welcoming / human / personable
  • be light, bright & colourful
  • be attractive and aesthetically pleasing
  • be relaxing / calming spaces
  • offer privacy to those within

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