May 10th 2021

Upstairs, downstairs

By Anthony Millington

Staircases, lifts, balconies, and balustrades are some of the strongest transition elements in architecture; they are designed to connect two spaces, whether it is interior to exterior or different interior levels. The positioning of these elements in a multi-level building will always be vital but now it is just as important to create a design visual and consider them as main features. Using metal mesh for the panel railings on these features not only is a great option for safety but also pushes the design boundaries.

Metal mesh has a long tradition of outdoor use spanning hundreds of years. Over time, metal mesh has earned a reputation as a practical, durable yet surprisingly versatile product thanks in part to its uncanny ability to meet a wide range of specifications. The reason then is the same as it is now, metal mesh is such a versatile product, it has inherent strength, it can be shaped, it is strong and most of all it is attractive. 

The popularity of metal mesh has seen it be used in almost every sector of construction from the hardest industrial environs such as oil rigs where the mesh needs to be durable, non-slip and anticorrosive, to the most delicate of installations in luxury hotels where aesthetic is everything.  So, it is not surprising then that architects and designers are coming up with new ways to use metal mesh to add character.

Historic London office space revitalized

The Studio at Greencoat Place is a former Victorian depository that was renovated to become an open plan office with a beautiful street frontage. The building has been reconfigured with a new entrance befitting its scale and location with office accommodations above. The redesign complements and utilizes the buildings original industrial features such as the brick walls, concrete soffits, and exposed cast iron supports. A refurbished platform lift is the prominent feature in the reception area.

The lift is enclosed in two layers of Banker Wire’s lock crimp wire mesh patterns. First is a fine woven mesh which is then layered behind a larger opening mesh of a similar design. Combined with colour, the two patterns evoke the industrial aesthetic and the era that the architect was capturing in their design.

Print colour brought to life in stunning office refurbishment

When it comes to the finishing, most meshes can be powder coated to almost any colour. Incorporating the clever use of the print CMYK formula, the former printworks in Clerkenwell, London had been refurbished into a visually stunning HQ for the Photobox Group. 

The four-print colour-coded floors surround a stunning industrial atrium with a central events space at the core of the design. Using exposed original concrete walls, pillars, and ceilings our gratings were used to create the coloured balustrades which were central to the visual design adding a modern and vibrant feel. 

Used for internal meetings as well as events and industry meetups the office is now a highly creative hub for those working within the print and design industry.

Whilst colour can bring a project to life, we are also seeing new patina finishes coming through from companies like Powdertech Corby which give a modern industrial look and feel but with the performance of a modern material underneath, whilst offering the fire rating that is required.  We have seen materials being mixed such as stainless and copper or stainless and brass on the woven meshes, this of course gives a beautiful look to the mesh whilst still giving a nod back to the heritage of woven meshes in balustrades. It is clear that mesh will remain synonymous for the given future, and hopefully we will continue to see designers and architects being creative with these meshes and pushing the boundaries of what we can do.

Read the full article in ABC&D May 2021 (zmags.com)

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