Space Re-design on Campus: 

Open Space at the Shapiro Library, University of Michigan


Big Ten Student Design Challenge

sponsored by Big Ten universities and Herman Miller



Yiyi Gao (Interior Design, Diagram & Rendering Assistant)

Rui Xu (Interior Design & Rendering)

Jingwen Li (Interior Design & Budget Control)

Yining Chen (Interior Design & Budget Control)

Space Overview


The University of Michigan’s space for the Big Ten Student Design Challenge is an open lab space in the Shapiro Library. It is a centrally located, but not currently well-defined, space, adjacent to a SITES computing lab on a central floor that serves as a conduit between the Shapiro Library and the Hatcher Graduate Library. 


This space is on the third floor of the Shapiro Library. It is an area open on two sides, currently filled with open study tables and computer workstations. There is a bar set up along one wall and the other wall features librarian offices.


It is a location student use as a ‘landing space’ but could offer much more to support academic work and foster deeper collaboration. 

Photos of the space

Floor plan of the space

(Diagram: Yiyi Gao)

Design Vision


The given space served as a connection zone between the two libraries with hundreds of students and faculties passing through every day. We hope the design will visually please students and faculties when they pass by, and we decided to make the proposed space into a functionally flexible environment for the students and faculties.


Our design contains a resting area for students to escape the intense study, a collaboration area for group discussions, and a few semi-private individual seats to satisfy the different needs of students. 

Furnishing & Budget Requirement


- Select up to $80,000 worth of furnishings from the Herman Miller Catalog provided. 


Optionally select up to $5000 of additional items 


- The university have roughly $15,000 to purchase materials and labor for flooring and wall treatment, however, it can be difficult to estimate costs accurately without going through the bidding process. 

Final Design Visualization

(Rendering: Xu Rui; Rendering Assistant: Yiyi Gao)

Final Furnishing Selection Details

Study Area

#1: Collaborative Working Space

[Public Office Landscape Desk & Social Chair] 

The desk sets create collaborative working areas with semi-private spaces for individuals available.

[Single Cafe Table with power Access]

The tables can be combined with the desk set, adding extra workstations on one side of the table.

[Eames Side Chair]

We chose a bright, eye-catching color for the iconic Eames chair.

[Eames Storage]

The storages divide the working space and the relaxing space. We added stress balls in the storages for students in the relaxing zone.


#2: Semi-Private Individual Space

[Customized Seating Frame with Wall Light on Top]

In order to make the most of the tight space between the wall and the storage door, we place two customized seating frames on the wall.

[Moss Wall]

The moss wall brings nature into the interior library space, inviting students to take a rest.

[Accent Tables]

Accent Tables are movable, allowing people to flexibly use them for coffee or laptops while sitting on the wooden frame.

Relax Area

#1: Playful Entrance Space

[Wood Swing Chair]

For those who get tired of sitting on normal seating after a long-time study, we intend a swing in the library to connect people's brains to an outdoor playground. It creates a playful moment to escape from the "seriousness" of studying.

[Bean Bags]

For those who enjoy a more casual seating, the two bean bags allow them to sit on the ground to their own preferences.


#2: Cozy Conversational Space

[Steps Lounge System]

We used parts of the modular sofa set to create a cozy environment.

[Always Lounge Chair]: This chair defines the other side of this conversational space, providing an individual seating in a conversational setting.

[Knot Table]

Knot Table has a visually interesting, twisting "knot“ design. We chose it because it matches our "playful" theme designed for the relaxing space.

[Arc Lamp]

While providing extra lighting to the area, the arc defines this space to be as “one” through a visually appealing way.

Final Budget Sheet

(Budget: Jingwen Li & Yining Chen)