Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Looking good (if we do say so ourselves!)

The cushions are back, brighter than ever, and the banners that hang above them have also been replaced.

Come take a look and help us break in the new seats!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um... rainbow couches?

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can has rainbow couches

2:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where are my rainbow couches? They made everything colorful and a little cheerier during finals. :(

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am extremely upset

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks hideous. The best thing about the rainbow couches was that they were in one giant, ever-changing rectangle. Not these little wimpy clumps.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful improvement! It is nice to see Oberlin spending money to upgrade the rest of the Mudd Center.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Oberlin College Library said...

We all loved the cushion pit (I’ve been known to have taken a nap or two there myself), but the truth is that the furniture was worn out. The foam underneath the seats was soft because it was 35 years old and badly broken down. The seating had also been re-upholstered in a haphazard way over the years, and the overall arrangement of the furniture had changed markedly from the original building design.
The summer project to upgrade the upper levels of Mudd included money for new carpets and some furnishings. Recarpeting all of the second and third levels was our highest priority. We knew that the old rainbow couches were in bad shape and would look bad next to the new carpets, so we also made replacing them a high priority when we planned the project.
Our overall idea was to restore the cushion area to a look and feel that would be close to the original design. We also wanted to reuse things when possible. So we decided to refurbish and reupholster the existing couch bases.
The company that did the reupholstering was instructed to use the old foam, if it was still in good shape. They quickly discovered that would be impossible, since it was disintegrating. So they replaced the foam with new foam that is firm. For those of you who like a softer feel, take heart. The foam will soften up as it’s used over time.
In choosing colors for the cushions we again wanted to come close to the original colors of the cushion area, which included a good bit of orange. We also wanted to have new banners that would match the couches (again a feature of the original design). A final goal for the color scheme was to complement the colors of the Academic Commons, particularly Azariah’s Café, creating more unity in the overall interior design of the building.
Finally, we wanted to arrange the furniture in a design close to the original building plan. We were able to locate an original furniture plan, which was what was used for the layout. We took pains to arrange the couches so that there is a mix of single seats (for those who want to sit up and read) and also seats that align in a way that is conducive to napping.
RAE 8/26/08

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The charm is gone.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The couches look great. Thanks for replacing the old ones. You put a lot of thought into the project.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a designer, I respect and can empathize with the impulse to have a unified aesthetic throughout Mudd, and wanting to reinstate some of the original design is also understandable. However, as a human, and a student who has become quite fond of the rainbow couches, I wholeheartedly prefer the charm and warmth of a space that was at once happily bright and also an organic, naturally-evolved tradition. (That is, studying and sleeping, potentially among friends, on the enormous blob of rainbow couches.) As such, I am disappointed at the design choices made in this situation. Aesthetic unity is nice, but it's got nothing on a place with heart. Hopefully we'll get the couches back to their former arrangement soon and without official impediment. About the colors... I guess we'll have to see.

2:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The old couches were so dirty it was disgusting. I can't believe anyone is bothered they're gone.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Harris said...

No. No. No. No.

I realize that's an enormous overreaction, but I miss the blob of rainbow couches a lot. I will probably get used to these colors very quickly, despite finding them—at least initially—much too bland.

More than the color, though, I violently dislike the new layout. My favorite thing about the rainbow couches was that you could literally crawl into the center and be completely surrounded by cushion everywhere—like an enormous bed. So comforting. And I loved that the layout sometimes just changed—it felt so adventurous, in a small way, just entering the cluster.

It just... wasn't like other seating. It was something more exciting and more flexible. It was a type of seating that doesn't exist anywhere else. The way it's arranged now... they're just standard benches.

I certainly won't feel as comfortable napping, or even just lying down to read a book, in them, and they won't have that awe-inspiring quality that the old ones had when new and prospective students first saw them.

Obviously you won't want to get them reupholstered with the colors, but maybe we can still change the layout back to something more exciting and comforting? It's just my suggestion.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Oberlin College Library said...

A serious problem we had with the previous layout involved cleaning, as one of the posts above suggests. We often received comments from students that the couches were filthy. It was virtually impossible to keep them clean when they were all clustered together. We basically had to wait until the summer, have the carpenters take everything apart, have the custodians shampoo everything, and the have the carpenters put them back together. It will be much easier to keep things clean with the new distributed layout, which (again as I noted above) mirrors the original layout of the space.
RAE 8/27/08

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Katie said...

I'm sorry, but I think that complimenting Azariah's is a terrible idea.
Azariah's was a waste of money. People like to sit in there because there are tables to group around a lot of outlets (super important, big improvement in the library), but overall Azariah's is a failure.
The rainbow couches, on the other hand, were tried and true. What are we supposed to call them now? Patterned, awful couches?
I can understand reupholstering them, but couldn't you have done it in the same fabric?
No one wants the library to be what it was originally. We want the couches to be what they were last semester. The RAINBOW COUCHES were the couches that made me apply. Azariah's, OBFit, etc. are the kinds of things that make me want to leave Oberlin.

At least unbolt them. If you don't, I will. And if I don't, some other student will.

I love Mudd and I respect the people who work there, but the rainbow couches are a big part of Oberlin's identity. Why tear it away??

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why tear it away? Can't you read. The foam in the couches was falling apart.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


If it means we have to clean the couches OURSELVES to have them put back together, we'll do it.

Or at least I will.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear RAE,
I'm ashamed of the people making these comments about the new couches. They're way overreacting.
A fan

7:36 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

You know, for a campus that prides itself on being open and able to accept difference, Obies sure know how to make a stink over the least little change (myself included).

The rainbow couches were an important part of my OC experience, too, and I miss rainbow couch naps dearly. But to call them "a big part of Oberlin's identity" is to privilege the experience of one group of students at the expense of the rest. There is no singular Oberlin experience. And isn't that the point?

But even without all of the social commentary ... they're just couches, folks. Let's celebrate the 30+ years of good times they provided, and move on.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Azariahs is a failure at all. The coffee's great and I often have a hard time finding a seat there at night.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm definitely not wild about the new color scheme. But the new spatial configuration is much more functional, to my mind. I always thought bunching all the seats together was kind of ridiculous.

9:41 PM  

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