Madison College

Customer Madison College is a world-class community college serving south-central Wisconsin
for more than 100 years. It’s known for its real-world, smart approach to learning, offering
students innovative, high-tech career programs and college transfer opportunities.


Location Madison, Wisconsin

Number of People Served 17,000+

izzy+ Independent Sales Representative Marty Wingrove, Above the Line

izzy+ Dealer Terry Vaughn, Emmons Business Interiors

Designer Ally Adams, Madison College

The need:

With student enrollment growing over the past decade, especially in certain academic areas like health sciences, administrators at Madison College knew their crowded, outdated buildings needed some help—particularly if they wanted to attract the next generation of more flexible learners.

“Your environment is so important now for recruitment,” says Ally Adams, the resident designer at Madison College. “People are so aware of it.”

For years, Adams learned a lot about college students by observing how they were “using available spaces and making do with what they didn’t have,” like sitting on the floor in corridors and unfurnished nooks.

After voters approved a 2010 referendum to fund a multi-phase expansion and renovation project at Madison College, student focus groups were organized.

“We listened to a lot of students talk about the kinds of casual, collaborative spaces they wanted,” Adams said, adding the spaces had to be comfortable for people who were meeting in groups and for people on their own.

A longtime fan of izzy+ products, says she knew immediately they would be ideal for the types
of flexible, collaborative spaces she was designing. They would also meet her criteria: great-looking, multi-functional, and durable.

“We are so hard on furniture here—I mean, SO hard,” Adams says.

The izzy+ solution:

Nemo Bar

Nemo Bars with Arc stools are central to several different spaces Adams designed.

“I knew I wanted to use the ridiculously awesome Nemo Bars as soon as I saw them,” Adams says of her 2012 encounter with the NeoCon Gold-winning Nemo Bar. “They’re just perfect.”

Adams first used Nemo and Arc to create collaborative study spaces in the new health building (completed in 2013), where all classes for health-related degrees are located.

“The goal was to create separate areas or vignettes where students can work together or apart and be comfortable either way,” Adams says.

“[The Nemo Bars are] hugely popular with the students. They get so much use and are completely durable. Nothing has broken or gone wrong with them over time.”

After observing the success of that product in the health building, Adams went on to specify Nemo Bars and Arc stools for the expanded Culinary and Cafeteria space, a 2017 addition to the college’s main facility, the Truax building.

“People just love these spots,” she says. “They’re created with the students in mind, but so many faculty and administrators are doing meetings in these spaces rather than in their offices and conference rooms. It’s huge to have the students, administrators and faculty all out in the same space, interacting.”

Sylvi lounge

The new Culinary and Cafeteria space also features Sylvi booths, another “love-at-first-sight” product for Adams.

“When I saw Sylvi for the first time at NeoCon, I loved it and wanted it immediately. All of the angles on Sylvi are like art.” she says. “I really loved the booth concept—the finishes, the fabric, every single thing about it.”

After seeing the Sylvi booths installed and in use in the new cafeteria, Adams says she loves them even more.

“It’s all so sturdy, and the seat design means there’s nowhere for food to get caught,” Adams says. “The fabric has all the colors I use and is chameleon in nature, so it hides stains and is really forgiving.”

Adams also placed several Sylvi lounge pieces in corridors to create additional Third Space
touchdown areas. The angle of Sylvi’s back, she says, allows you to place the lounge against a wall without marring the paint.

“I just love izzy furniture—the durability, and how it is designed and made. The quality, craftsmanship and detailing is fabulous,” Adams says.

“When high school students come through here with their parents on tours now, they’re blown away by what they see—not just the spaces, but the activity and interaction of people using them.”