Alien would have had a very different ending if Locker Group products had been used to build their spacecraft.

How would Locker Group products have seen the Alien crew safely home?

The much-hyped new Alien film is about to grace our screens, and we're sure it's going to be an absolute thriller. However, we can't help but feel that if the Alien crew had been using Locker Group products to build their spacecraft, there wouldn't have been anywhere near as much of a kerfuffle in the first place. Here's why.

Highly corrosive acid just isn't a problem with Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP)

We all know that scene in the original film, when Kane (played by John Hurt) has a mysterious alien attached to his face that can't be removed. As the crew try to cut the creature from him, they discover that the blood that gushes from the wound is actually a highly corrosive acid. The crew, scared it's going to breach the hull, chase the acid as it rips a hole through several layers of spacecraft.

This makes for a great movie scene, but had their walkways been made using FRP, this would never have been an issue. Locker Group FRP is ideal for use in corrosive environments (for example, chemical plants, or perhaps spaceships with a high chance of alien encounters). It can be subjected to continuous spills, fumes or even submersion, and its non-sparking and non-conductive properties mean it's also perfect for hazardous electrical applications where atmospheric gases might otherwise explode. 

If your spaceship happens to go slightly too close to the sun, FRP's UV inhibitors also help protect against sun damage and degradation. 

The added safety of perforated metal and Pic-Perf means no more heading unawares into dark rooms

Remember that scene when Brett (played by Harry Dean Stenton) follows the ship's cat into an engine room, where an alien just happens to be lurking ready to kill him? Well that would never have been a problem if the spacecraft had perforated metal screens. The holes in the metal allow people to see out while stopping others seeing in, meaning Brett could have had a good old look before entering the engine room. Likewise, the alien might not have been able to plan its attack so well if it hadn't been able to see Brett coming.

Spaceships in general could do with a little more interior design, and we think Pic-Perf is the best material for it.

Perhaps Locker Group's Pic-Perf could have been a welcome addition to the spacecraft. It has all the extra safety features of normal perforated metal, but also has the capacity for images, which are made out of the hundreds or even thousands of holes placed into the metal. Spaceships in general could do with a little more interior design, and we think Pic-Perf is the best material for it.

We work closely with our clients so that we can tailor our products to their exact specifications. Perhaps if the Alien crew had contacted us, they would have made it home safely. 

The Lego Tower, or The Icon as it's formally known, is our of our favourite uses of expanded metal in architecture.

The Icon: Creating a sense of community and colour with expanded metal

The sun can present a huge problem for architects in Australia. Fortunately, Locker Group have the solution. We make expanded metal to a variety of specifications in order to protect your building from the sun's harsh glare. The Icon, an apartment building in St Kilda, Melbourne, represents one of the most innovative and creative ways our product has been used. Here's why.

The Lego Tower

The Lego Tower features expanded metal in a variety of different colours. The Lego Tower features expanded metal in a variety of different colours.

This amazing creation is the work of a collaboration between artist Matthew Johnson and architects Jackson Clements Burrows (JCB). It features six artfully balanced cubes, which are wrapped in several different colours of Locker Group expanded metal. As the sun moves over the sky, each piece of metal changes colour slightly, giving it a dynamic, playful quality. 

While many think of metal as purely existing in different tones of grey and silver, The Icon is changing that perception. In fact, the building is also known as "the Lego tower' due to its similarity to the coloured building blocks. Mr Johnson said the design was intended to brighten up an otherwise fairly "dead" area of St Kilda. 

"Having visited and inhabited St Kilda through parts of my life, one can't help but feel there needs to be something … totemic or sculptural that is like a signifier to this neighbourhood," he told

"Because you are creating this vertical habitat in that location, it's actually invigorating a whole site in an intelligent way rather than just building another faceless building." 

A sense of community

The idea of the different boxes, according to Andrew Jackson, director of JCB, is to create a feeling of community, with each separate colour representing a different neighbourhood.

Expanded metal provides both an aesthetically pleasing and functional way to deal with the sun.

"It was a way of thinking about an apartment building not just as a singular entity but a collection of communities," he said to This must surely be something that architects of the future will take into account, as people try and move away from the traditional conception of tower blocks as lacking in community spirit. 

As The Icon proves, expanded metal provides both an aesthetically pleasing and functional way to deal with the sun, by cutting out glare while still making the most of available natural light. It can be used above windows, entrances, walkways, or along the whole length of a structure. If you would like to use expanded metal for your project, please contact us

Perforated metal is used in a wide range of acoustical solutions.

How is perforated metal used in acoustics?

People value peace and quiet. This is why it's so important to consider acoustics when undertaking an architectural project. Here at Locker Group, we know how diverse perforated metal is, which is why we provide custom shapes and sizes to meet any requirements. Did you know that perforated metal is a key application in acoustics, however? 

There are two main ways perforated metal can be used in acoustics. The first is as a facing for something else, and the second is as a tuned resonant absorber.

Perforated metal is a great way to shut out unwanted sounds.Perforated metal is a great way to shut out unwanted sounds.

As a facing for acoustical material

Different acoustical materials will be used with the goal of either absorbing, reflecting or scattering sound, depending on what you are using your acoustic application for. This material, frequently foam, normally needs to be encased in something that will protect it. This is where perforated metal comes in. You will need something that will let the sound waves pass through, while still providing enough protection for your acoustic material. Perforated metal, which is strong but has lots of holes in, is perfect for this.

Tuned resonant absorbers

The second way perforated metal is used in acoustics is with a tuned resonant absorber. Often, you will only want to reduce sound that's at a particular frequency. Tuned resonant absorbers are excellent for absorbing sound at a low frequency (100 Hz or under).

Perforated metal supplies an easy solution for sound absorption and other acoustical issues.

With these, the perforated metal takes an active part in determining which frequencies need cutting out. It is used in conjunction with a trapped layer of air to concentrate the sound absorption of the acoustical material onto whichever frequency range the sound that needs cutting out falls in. 

The air particles will begin moving in and out of the perforated metal's holes violently at whatever frequency the tuned resonant absorber is set at. These air particles are then pumped back and forth with the adjacent acoustical layer. At this point, the acoustic energy will transfer into heat due to the friction created, and so will no longer be heard as sound.

As you can see, perforated metal supplies an easy solution for sound absorption and other acoustical solutions. Our products come in a range of materials, including stainless steel, aluminium, mild steel, corten,titanium, copper, brass, alloys and polypropylene. For more information, please contact us

Think about how windows affect the look and feel of your home.

How can you make smart architectural choices when adding windows to a house?

One of the most critical choices you make when planning the architecture of a new house is how to configure windows. This decision will have a great deal of influence over many aspects of the home – how difficult (and expensive) it is to build, how elegant it will look when completed and to what degree it will let in heat and light. There's a lot to consider.

Think about how architectural products will have an impact on the windows of your house.

It's also important to think about how the architectural products you choose will have an impact on the windows of the house you're building. For example, if you use stainless steel rather than aluminum to build the windows' framework, what effect will that have? These small design choices can make a bigger difference than you think.

Reconsidering your windows' architecture

Windows can have a surprising amount of impact on how livable a home or office building becomes, especially when you consider the sort of architectural products you use to build them. For instance, according to Architecture AU, there's been a recent trend of builders using more stainless steel for finishing windows.

This has had a noticeable effect. The steel has given the windows a strong, bold profile that makes them appear more sleek and seamless. The effect isn't just aesthetic, either – windows adorned with sturdy material like steel make it easier for the building to be resistant to the elements and block out high-speed winds.

Optimising for heat and air flow

How much hot and cold air flows into a building is always important. This is a major factor determining the indoor temperature and air quality in the building, which in turn will dictate how much heating and/or air conditioning is needed. In effect, airflow is a major cost centre.

Windows can control the flow of light into a building.Windows can control the flow of light into a building.

Rappler noted that the structure of your windows will largely dictate airflow. If you have the right screening media to keep heat and wind under control, it will be easier to keep your costs to a minimum. There's a cost-benefit analysis to be performed during the building process. How much should you spend on superior building materials?

Considering Locker Group's line of products

If you decide to go all out and build good, sturdy windows that will keep your building fully protected, we have the right building materials at Locker Group to help make that happen. For example, our line of expanded metal products is great for protecting buildings from the harsh glare of the sun.

Whatever specific architectural challenges you're facing, we are confident that we have the right materials – as well as the expertise – to handle them. Contact us today, and we can discuss all your building needs.

How can Australia uncover a greater diversity of houses?

What can be done to improve the diversity of housing in Australia?

The population of Australia is constantly increasing. According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 24.2 million people in the country as of September 2016, which was about 350,000 more than one year earlier. As a rule, Australia's population has been steadily rising at a rate of about 1.5 per cent per year. And there's no hiding from the truth – all those people are going to need places to live.

Not everyone is rich and can afford a mansion; not everyone is poor and wants to live in a small place.

To be more specific, they need a diversity of places. Not everyone is rich and can afford a mansion; not everyone is poor and wants to live in a small, cramped place in a bad neighbourhood. Most people, in fact, are somewhere in the middle. This being the case, it's important that the nation's architects work to deliver housing solutions for a wide range of different people with varying tastes, preferences and price ranges in mind.

Making creative architecture choices will absolutely play a role in this effort.

Australia's current lack of housing diversity

With the population increasing so quickly, the architectural sector is working to crank out livable housing as quickly as possible to accommodate everyone. Given the rise of new building strategies like industrial flooring, it's now easier than ever to mass-produce houses and get them ready quickly. But according to recent findings in the Parliament of Australia, too many houses are all the same.

There's a simple formula that's being followed – a large house, four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a roomy three-car garage – the "McMansion" approach, as it's known. Professor Terry Burke, from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, argued before Parliament that these domiciles won't be the right fit for enough of the population for the current building model to be sustainable.

"Historically, I do not think we have really built suburbs as lacking in diversity as those we are building at the moment," Mr Burke said.

This is especially a problem in affluent suburbs of major Australian cities – consider western Sydney, for example. In areas like this, there's a lot of building, but not enough diversity among the housing projects currently being undertaken.

What can be done about the problem?

So how can this issue be fixed? What will move us toward a future in which families have a range of different housing options available? According to Architecture AU, a lot of it comes down to better planning early in the building process. Ken Maher, president of the Australian Institute of Architects, told the news outlet that real estate developers need to examine demographics carefully as they shape their business strategies.

Australian architects can either build new homes or retrofit new ones.Australian architects can either build new homes or retrofit new ones.

The housing options available in Australia's cities and suburbs can be modified in one of two ways – either by building different homes in the first place, or by changing existing residences by using inventive retrofitting strategies. In either event, it's worthwhile to think about the different kinds of architectural products available for these projects and how they might impact the eventual finished products.

Looking carefully at the products used in building

When the time comes to build a new house or modify an existing one, the component pieces used can make all the difference. At Locker Group, we have a wide range of offerings that can play a part in the process. Take curtains, for example. Our wire mesh curtains make an ideal way to add texture or character to a room – for nice, upscale homes, they might be a worthy addition, but they're also completely optional.

Our vast catalog of construction products makes it easy for builders to customise their projects to whatever specifications they have in mind. Whether you're constructing a mansion for an upper-class family or a more modest home, we have the building blocks that will be right for you.

You can create some stunning designs with pic-perf.

How has pic-perf changed the face of perforated metal?

At Locker Group, we know that innovation is an essential part of good architecture. This is why we've developed pic-perf, a perforated metal that allows you to recreate the most stunning images on to any wall or surface. But, what exactly is pic-perf, and how is it being used by architects all over Australia?

What is pic-perf?

Locker Group's unique pic-perf technology allows you to create any image by punching hundreds, or even thousands, of holes into a metal surface. It is an excellent addition to balustrades, facades and partitions. It also makes a great sunshade. Not all architecture has to be functional either – our pic-perf can be used simply as a piece of artwork to decorate your building or project.

Other advantages of pic-perf include its added ventilation, wind resistance and security (you can see out but it's hard to see in).

Even if you can't think of a pic-perf design, Locker Group can help you come up with one. Even if you can't think of a pic-perf design, Locker Group can help you come up with one.

How has pic-perf been used so far?

Locker Group's pic-perf has already been used in some fantastic projects around Australia.

For instance, we collaborated with architect firm Hassell to create a wall for Adelaide Zoo. The design did not only include pictures of the animals you might expect to find in the zoo, but also incorporated words associated with the excitement of a day out there. This meant not only was the wall a functional way of partitioning the zoo, it also worked as a long-lasting advert.

If you've ever been to the Suncorp Stadium (originally known as Lang Park), you'll have admired the pic-perf addition there, which shows people playing rugby league. Meanwhile, our work with Rothe Lowman and Sue Hodges Productions produced an incredible design of a horse and carriage to adorn the lobby of an apartment building in Brunswick East. 

You're not just confined to grey and black when you use our pic-perf either. Our work with the John Curtin College of the Arts produced a stunning design that incorporated different shades of blue.

The John Curtin College of the Arts shows you can easily incorporate colour into your pic-perf design.The John Curtin College of the Arts shows you can easily incorporate colour into your pic-perf design.

What do you need to consider when using pic-perf?

You need to think about viewing distance and what colour your background will be when deciding on your design (a darker background requires a lighter surface). You also need to consider the environment in which you intend to place your pic-perf so you can decide on which material will suit your project best. 

Here at Locker Group, we work closely with our clients to ensure that all these questions are sorted out as early as possible. Even if you don't have a design in mind, Locker Group will help you create one, so please don't hesitate to contact us if you're interested. 

Perth residents will soon be able to enjoy the attractions of the Montario Quarter.

How Perth’s Montario Quarter Project aims to improve urban planning

The Montario Quarter, a LandCorp redevelopment of the old Shenton Park Hospital site in Perth, is now underway and is a project that holds much promise for the city's residents. 

The transformation of the old hospital's 15.8 hectare grounds will see the construction of 1,100 new apartments and houses, in addition to a shopping village and a significant amount of public park space.

The development will be delivered in a way suiting the unique natural and historic features of the area.

High expectations for Montario Quarter development

Frank Marra, chief executive at LandCorp, said the development will be delivered in a way suiting the unique natural and historic features of the area.

"The improvement scheme is based on values the community outlined through extensive stakeholder engagement, including a formal public comment period which took place earlier in the year," Marra told The Western Australian.

"As a result, public open space will form a key part of Montario Quarter, with more than 25 per cent of the estate earmarked for features including an urban orchard, playground and exercise equipment, a nature-play area, grassed spaces and retained bushland."

Attractive and accessible parks enhance urban areas and a good for communities.Attractive and accessible parks enhance urban areas and a good for communities.

Similar types of new developments across Australia are helping to redefine public spaces in terms of the community, social, environmental and economic benefits they can provide. One important aspect that today's urban planners consider is how to make the public spaces they're developing more visually appealing with improved architecture or art. This is where Locker Group can be of help.

Similar types of new developments across Australia are helping to redefine public spaces

Locker Group helps planners realise their artistic vision

One of Locker Group's recent successes in public spaces was the creation and installation of the iconic Float sculpture of 12 large upturned umbrellas in Sydney, a joint project with Stone & Milnehouse. 

Locker Group designed the materials to make Float, including two Transit stainless steel mesh pieces to make the umbrellas look soft and billowing The mesh pieces were shaped to fit the upside down umbrella skin. At Locker Group, our experts can mould metal into a wide variety of forms and create unique shapes. 

Float intends to convey an environmental message to the community – specifically, a greater awareness of climate change. According to Stone & Milnehouse, the upturned umbrellas represent the ability to collect water rather than just being a means to shield oneself from the sun and rain. They are a reminder to passersby that we need to conserve. 

If you'd like to find out more about Locker Group's wide range of architectural products for use in public spaces, please get in touch with us today.

Find out how your next building project could benefit from an Atmosphere facade.

Atmosphere facades: More than meets the eye

Designers and builders in past eras often worked on projects with fairly straight-forward architectural expectations, utilising affordable materials that were available. As long as the finished project did the job, that was as much as could be asked of them.

These days, the market has evolved dramatically and the demand for aesthetically pleasing facades made of sustainable yet affordable materials is in high demand. Fortunately, Locker Group offers Atmosphere – a lightweight, durable product that offers a practical and attractive solution.

There are few raw materials on the market that offer the same range of features as Atmosphere.

How do Atmosphere facades work?

There are few raw materials on the market that offer the same range of features as Atmosphere, something that building designers and builders have to recognise.

To understand the advantages of an Atmosphere facade, it's important to first talk about how it 's made it how it works. Atmosphere is a lightweight material made up of multiple layers of perforated metal panels joined to 8-millimetre stainless steel tension cables. These can be attached to commercial or industrial buildings which allows the facade to create an attractive visual "floating effect".   

While providing a visual appeal to those outside the building, Atmosphere's perforated texture protects those inside the building from the harsh glare of the sun. At the same time, the floating nature of the facade means that visibility of the space isn't restricted – people passing through the structure can see through, inside and out – and an adequate amount of natural light still gets in.

Advantage facades will block out the harsh glare of the sun, but still let through an adequate amount of natural light.Advantage facades will block out the harsh glare of the sun, but still let through an adequate amount of natural light.

Access to natural light is an important consideration in the workplace. A study by researchers from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that office workers with higher light exposure had longer sleep, better sleep quality and quality of life than those with less workplace light exposure. 

Atmosphere takes out the sun's glare but still allows a moderate amount of natural daylight to come through into the building, so that every room is well lit.

A sustainable solution for the long term

With Atmosphere facades, your business can also achieve its environmental and sustainability goals through reduced energy consumption. In hot sunny days, it has a cooling effect on the building – allowing for reduced usage of fans and air conditioning units. The panels also have the potential to be used as a solar power resource.

Altogether, it is a solution that can help a business get creative with its energy efficiency and realise significant gains in terms of utility bill savings. The benefits of Atmosphere in terms of sustainability practically pay for themselves in the long run.

It really does provide the modern-day business designer with so many exciting options.

A world of possibilities awaits

Atmosphere has an intriguing array of potential applications. It can be used to retrofit and create a new look for an old building – an optimal solution when costs prohibit a complete renovation overhaul – or it can be used to adorn a completely new one.

The material can be moulded to fit almost any design – it's flexible and therefore the possibilities are endless. Locker Group offers Advantage in a wide variety of different colours and profiles. It really does provide the modern-day business designer with so many exciting options to choose from. 

If you're thinking about creative options for your company's next building project, it's a product that we would invite you to consider.

How can architects help improve Australian housing affordability?

How can Locker Group contribute to affordable housing?

The price of living and owning property in Australia's urban centres has become increasingly challenging for the average home buyer. As Business Insider reports, the most recent International Housing Affordability Survey rates Sydney second on its list of least-affordable cities to buy a house this year, with Melbourne coming in at number six. 

Affordable housing is a complex issue with many contributing factors. But one of the industries that can have an impact on the situation is architecture. By addressing some of the challenges of housing our growing urban population at the design stage, we can make things easier and more affordable for consumers further down the line. But how can architects go about this, and what part can Locker Group play?

Architects have an opportunity to make living in Australia's cities more affordable and more environmentally friendly.

An opportunity for architects

National president of the Australian Institute of Architects, Ken Maher, recently spoke at Parliament House in Canberra about housing affordability. As part of his address he argued for medium-density housing, including multiresidential buildings, as a way to address the issue of housing affordability in our main centres. He believes that architects have an opportunity to help make living in Australia's cities more affordable, as well as more environmentally friendly.

"As a key player in the development of the built environment, the architecture profession has the skills to deliver housing that addresses crucial issues, such as affordable living, sustainable design and flexible housing, providing savings in both upfront costs and the ongoing cost of occupation," he said.

We believe that Locker Group's architectural products can be part of this affordable, sustainable design. Our metal facade products, in particular, are ideally suited to be incorporated into buildings that are cheaper to make and cheaper to maintain, while still providing a comfortable environment for their tenants.

By reducing construction costs you can make residential apartments more affordable.By reducing construction costs you can make residential apartments more affordable.

Reduced construction and maintenance costs

Designing and building with locally-sourced materials saves the costs of importing and expensive long-distance shipping. Locker Group's extensive footprint and ability to produce on a large scale means we're able to provide quality products for competitive prices.

Once construction is finished, there are other ways to save with Locker Group. Many of our products, particularly our perforated and expanded metal facades, can be treated as individual components – if there is a piece that needs repairing or replacing, this can be done without having to pull down the entire facade. By incorporating more of a modular attitude to design, architects reduce the ongoing maintenance costs of their buildings, which means there are fewer costs to be passed on down the line to tenants.

Incorporating sustainability into a building's design benefits its occupants the environment.Incorporating sustainability into a building's design benefits its occupants the environment.

Sustainable apartment buildings have lower running costs

Beyond the cost of buying and maintaining a home, ongoing living costs in a city are high. Making buildings that are sustainable and designed for low energy use are not only good for the environment, but they cost less to live in.

Australia's climate poses a challenge for architects who want to make buildings that don't rely too heavily on artificial air-conditioning. Using shading facades reduces the impact of sun and cools the interior of a building naturally, without interfering with views or airflow, meaning electricity bills come down.

The ecological benefits shouldn't be disregarded, though, as long-term design needs to be sustainable in every sense. As Maher puts it:

"Good design can't be seen as a luxury or an optional extra; rather, it is essential to delivering a built environment that can sustain Australia's diverse communities into the future."

Affordable and green urban housing comes down to consciously designed architecture. This, in part, comes down to using quality products that are made to be low-maintenance and promote sustainability. Get in touch with Locker Group today to find out how our architectural products can be used in innovative urban design.

The sun's heat is a challenge and an opportunity for architects.

Australian sunlight: The gift and the curse for sustainable architecture

One of the primary challenges we face here in Australia is the sun. According to SunSmart Victoria, Australia's UV levels are some of the highest in the world. This is such an issue that some Australian wine makers even have to put sunblock on their grapes to prevent them from being charred by the sun, CNN Money reports.

For architects, the sun presents both a problem and an opportunity. Harsh light and heat can ruin the comfort of a building's occupants, but this intense sunlight offers potential benefits for buildings that aim to be more sustainable and energy-conscious.

Taking advantage of the sun as a power source doesn't mean you can ignore the problems it causes.

The powerful benefits of Australia's sunlight

A good example of this is the proposed Sol Invictus Tower in Melbourne, which was announced last year by Peddle Thorp Architects. The 60-storey apartment building will wear a skin of more than 35,000 solar panels that, along with roof-mounted wind turbines, will provide more than half of the tower's energy needs, Architectural Digest reports. The building's shape is designed to make the most of the sun throughout the day.

Buildings like Sol Invictus are part of a growing movement in architecture that recognises what the Australian climate has to offer, and runs with it rather than fights against it. But taking advantage of the sun as a power source doesn't mean you can ignore the problems it causes.

The sun is great for solar panels, but can be harsh on a building's occupants.The sun is great for solar panels, but can be harsh on a building's occupants.

Balancing sustainability with comfort

The flip side to this natural heat source is that it doesn't discriminate – the strong sunlight that hits solar panels and powers a building also heats the interior and casts glare. For a building to be comfortably liveable it needs to moderate the effect of the sun's heat and glare while still making the most of it as an energy and light source. Solar panels are a great way to take on that second challenge, but what about the first?

Locker Group has a range of products that can be used to minimise the unpleasant effects of the sun on a building's occupants. Woven wire, perforated and expanded metal facades can all be used to provide shade without limiting view or air flow. Check out our case studies for some examples of how LG's architectural products have been used to moderate the effects of the sun.

Harnessing the sun's power while protecting ourselves from its heat are not mutually exclusive goals. Locker Group's products provide ways to design buildings that make the most of what the sun has to offer without subjecting the interior to its harsh effects. Get in touch today to discuss how we can be involved in your next sustainable design project.

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