Designed to inspire


A facade of windows outlines the Green Lane Building.

By Alyssa Davis 

From the ceiling to the chairs, and everything in-between, the fifth floor of Kean’s Green Lane building, which houses the Robert Busch School of Design (RBSD), was thoughtfully planned to foster student creativity.

An open floor plan with natural light flooding in from a facade of windows encourages the free-flow of creative thought. An exposed space in the ceiling, tack-board and whiteboard walls, an expansive materials library, and free moving chairs and furnishings that mimic art, offer an environment where collaboration and inspiration can flourish.

Students are educated in a more professional setting, where studios serve as the learning environment rather than a typical classroom, making the transition from college to career a smooth one. When class isn’t in session, students are encouraged to work and collaborate in the studios just as they will in their future careers.

“The space was designed to emulate a professional studio,” said Executive Director of the RBSD, Rose Gonella. “One of our models was Google Labs.”

The Green Lane Building opened in January of 2014, and it boasts a polished and modern, six-story, glass exterior.

The advertising, graphic, industrial and interior design programs are all available at the RBSD. Students in each are offered resources meant to help them excel and become well-rounded design professionals.

An exposed space in the ceiling gives industrial and interior design students a glimpse into the mechanics of their fields. A materials library provides them with fabrics and other textiles that have been donated to the school by manufacturers.

A laboratory supplied with Mac computers as well as a fabrication workroom are available for advertising and graphic design students to create in. The fabrication laboratory, called the fab lab, features a 3-D printer which, according to, can make three-dimensional, solid objects from a digital file.

Most walls throughout the RBSD space are either whiteboards, meant for students to write on, or tack-boards which are used to display sketches and projects for group collaboration and critique.

“You pin up your work and you sit around and you discuss your ideas or you discuss the success of the work,” said Gonella.

Tables throughout the RBSD lounge areas have large writing-pads covering the entirety of their tops which provide students with a blank space to sketch out ideas as they emerge.

There is one lecture room in the space, which was designed for teamwork and idea exchange. Its chairs are on wheels so that students can easily move around and form groups.

Another interesting set of chairs featured throughout the RBSD mixed-use spaces look more like pieces of art than a place to sit. The chairs, which rock side-to-side, resemble larger versions of the tacks that students use to hang-up their work on the walls. The seat is a concave circle which is not supported by legs, but rather the “pinpoint” of the tack holds the chair up.

The facade of windows, which is meant to inspire, overlooks Kean’s main campus on one side, and on the other provides a bird’s-eye view of New York City’s skyline.

Erica Whyte, a graphic design major, believes that the RBSD space influences design because it is sleek and clean and mimics the setting that design students hope to be in at some point in their professional futures.

Design careers depend upon ingenuity and are collaborative in nature. Everything in the fifth floor space was implemented to create an environment which fuses both ideas to aide students in furthering their education and honing their skills.

“The idea is to encourage collaboration, community and an interactivity of ideation,” said Gonella.

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