A café at the University of Edinburgh has been celebrated for its unique style at the annual Scottish Design Awards in Glasgow.

Levels Café and Lounge received the Interior Design Award at the 19th annual ceremony, which highlights the very best in design and architecture across the country.  

The café, located within a new university accommodation complex on Holyrood road, opened last October and was created with the aim of transforming the traditional ‘canteen’ style of student café to one that provides an experience akin to the best high-street chains.

Created by Edinburgh-based interior and graphic design company, 442, the café draws strong links from its university setting to encourage learning and creativity. The company created the ‘professor’, a fictional character who was used to inspire the quirky décor such as criss-crossing bookshelves, literary quotes covering the walls and even his ‘best friend’, a porcelain Great Dane.

As well as areas filled with sofas for groups to relax, it also offers communal benches and a prominent service area in the middle of the café, allowing visitors the chance to ‘grab and go’ to speed up service.

Ian Macaulay, assistant director of catering at The University of Edinburgh Accommodation, Catering and Events, said: "Levels has been a great success and this is thanks to the operational catering team on the ground, as well as the clear design highlighted from the start.

442 was able to clearly understand and ultimately deliver what we were trying to achieve in this space, but with a much more commercial high street focus. They also identified the needs of our core customers to create an environment best suited to a variety of familiar activities, from study to socialising and events.”

Tracey Forbes, director at 442, said: "What I think worked well in the case of Levels was a close integration with the operational side of things. Taking the time to understand what we were trying to achieve inside the building is something that often isn’t factored into an architect’s brief, so it’s refreshing to have such collaboration.