What are the benefits to using a double-skin facade?

What are the advantages of using double skin-facades?

Building design has evolved significantly to meet changing requirements for comfort, function, and energy efficiency. This evolution has led to all kinds of innovation in the design space, from using new materials to integrating smarter design elements.

One such development is the double-skin facade, which in most cases comprises of a traditional single-skin facade doubled-up with an additional outer layer covering all or part of the building within. The advantages to this kind of facade system are considerable, let's look at the four biggest benefits in more detail.

What materials are used in a double-skin facade?

Before we look at benefits, a quick note on materials. Double-skin facades are being built across the world, and the majority of them are built using glass for the internal layer. Outside layers tend to be made of either a second layer of glass, or perforated metal sheets. In this article, we are referring to double-skin facades utilising a mixture of glass and perforated metal.

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1. Reduced energy consumption

The cavity between the two layers can act as insulation during the colder months. This happens in two ways. The first is that sunlight generates heat which gets trapped between the two layers, while the second is that less heat escapes the inside of the building due to the additional layer. This reduces the need to heat the inside of the building, eliminating reliance on HVAC systems and the cost of operating them.

2. Natural ventilation

In warmer climates, the air in the cavity between the two facade layers effectively monitors itself. Excess heat is drained out through a process known as the stack effect, wherein the differences between air density create air buoyancy. This essentially means that as the temperature of the air in the cavity rises, it's pushed out of the cavity.

The result is that the temperature of the inner skin is kept much lower, and less heat is transferred from the building's exterior to its interior. Ultimately, the ventilation properties of a double-skin facade act to keep the building and its occupants cooler, and reduce the need to run air conditioning.

3. Acoustic insulation

The beauty of a double-skin facade is that even when internal windows are open, you can achieve acoustic insulation that performs as well as any single-skin facade. Sound insulation effectiveness can be greatly increased by incorporating perforated metals in the right way. There are two key methods for this.

By utilising one of two techniques, your perforated metal outer facade can mute external frequencies. The first method, "sound transparency" incorporates elements of soundproofing and uses the perforated sheets as a protective cover. With this methodology, sheets need to allow sound to pass through them, letting the additional sound-controlling material soak up the frequencies.

The second method, "tuned resonance" requires specialised perforation sizes matched to the frequencies that need to be blocked. The sound waves oscillate in the holes rather than passing through, leading to a significant reduction in noise.

4. Occupant comfort

With improved temperature control providing a more human-centric environment, the comfort of the occupants is increased significantly. Coupling this with a perforated metal outer facade which provides shading from direct sunlight while still allowing the passage of natural light, occupants benefit even further.

Why use perforated metal in a double-skin facade?

Beyond what we've covered, there are numerous other benefits to using perforated metal in a building facade:

  • Flexibility in terms of perforation size and profile, not to mention the possibilities for custom images with Pic Perf.
  • An extensive choice of colours and finishes.
  • Available in a range of coatings for long life.
  • Availability of different metals to suit different environmental needs.
  • Supports all manner of creative and innovative designs, limited only by imagination.

For more information on how perforated metal can be utilised as a facade material, get in contact with the team at Locker Group today.

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What's influencing facade design in 2018?

The next big thing: 5 architectural facade design trends

The way building facades are approached is changing. In addition to their waterproofing, insulation and aesthetic functions, facade design now encompasses energy efficiency, which adds another layer of complexity to the process. Further, facade engineers have access to a greater number of materials, and developments in technology allow them to do more with what they have. 

When we talk about facade design trends, we're not looking at "what's hot" so much as how the design approach has changed, what's important now that wasn't before, and what's possible now thanks to technological development.

1. Design approach

Usually when people think of facades, they think of the most iconic in the world; St Peter's Basilica, the Parthenon, or one of the many striking works by Frank Gehry. It's true that facade design can leave an impression, oftentimes leading buildings to become iconic, integral parts of their cityscapes that can last for centuries.

Mic Patterson of Facade Tectonics describes the current approach to facade design in commercial architecture as "the pursuit of the iconic." This is an approach that values the unique appearances of the classics, and attempts to create designs that will be remembered.

This is not to say that the aesthetic aspect of a facade is the only consideration, or at least, it shouldn't be. As previously mentioned, waterproofing and insulation are just as important as aesthetic features, but with new technology, facades can make even more meaningful contributions to the buildings they envelope (we'll go into more detail on this shortly).

Today's design approach is one that balances striking visuals with classic functionality, while incorporating smart new technologies to boost efficiency.

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2. Materials

Developments in technology mean materials are easier to produce in bulk and easier to manipulate for particular applications. Producing thousands of perforated metal sheets for example, is far simpler and less time consuming than it would have been in eras past.

Woven wire mesh and perforated or expanded metal used in facades (whether for the entire building skin or as individual textural or shading elements in more complex designs) certainly fit the bill when it comes to functionality. Facade materials need to strike a delicate balance of allowing natural light to enter the building, but restricting glare from the sun.

This can be achieved using open profiles or screens oriented in a such a way to allow the all-important passage of natural light while still offering optimal protection from direct sunlight. Traditionally, many facade engineers opted for glass to provide natural light to a space, but this isn't always the best option in Australia's climate – where the glare from the slow-moving sun can cause problems with vision.

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3. Sustainability

Sustainability is another factor of facade design that is more important now than ever. In this context, sustainability is all about reducing the footprint – using smarter materials, optimising design and layout, and reducing long-term costs.

One of the key strategies here extends from our last section. We covered how materials like glass and open-profiled metal sheets allow the entry of natural light, but the reason for this is to reduce the volume and intensity of indoor lighting. More natural light means less reliance on the electricity grid, which ultimately reduces energy spend.

Facades are generally oriented so they can respond to solar movement. Depending on the local climate, facades can also prevent heat loss, or maintain cooler temperatures inside the building. Again, this reduces the amount of energy building managers need to use to keep the environment comfortable for those using it.

Another hot trend in facade design is the "vegetated facade", wherein a facade is designed and built to support the growth of vegetation. The vegetation then becomes part of the building skin, reinforcing biodiversity and offering shade and amenity spaces for building inhabitants.

4. Smart elements

Smart building design is about sustainability, but it's also about improving lives. Smart elements creatively reimagine what's possible in design, to remove limitations, to create spaces where humans can flourish and to add functionality previously only dreamed of.

Utilising smart elements in your facade isn't a matter of selecting pre-established elements, rather it is an innovative design approach. Let's look at a couple of examples of how smart elements can be used in a project.

A few years ago a new hospital was built in Mexico City, the facade of which has "smog eating" capabilities. The material was initially introduced in 2011, and contains titanium dioxide. As exhaust-filled air passes around the facade, it interacts with the material's "free radicals" which cleanse the air of the gases that smog is made up of; nitric oxides, sulfur dioxide and ozone.

Another example of smart facade elements in use is the communications and design building at the University of Southern Denmark which utilises gorgeous perforated metal panels with a twist. All of the panels are installed on mechanical hinges that are capable of adjusting themselves to regulate the natural light entering the building (pictured below).

A final example of smart facade design comes from material technologists Decker Yeadon. Their homeostatic facade comprises two sheets of glass with the newly developed material in between. This material was created to act like a muscle, and it expands or contracts based on the temperature of the outer surface. This in turn, alters the amount of light and heat that can enter the building.

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5. Maintenance

Maintenance plays a large role in design. As the "face" of a building, a facade needs to maintain its appearance for the building's entire lifecycle. This means carefully considering how materials will age over time, whether access points for cleaners can be incorporated, as well as looking at compatibility with new maintenance technology.

Where perforated or expanded metal sheets are used, hot-dip galvanisation helps them go the distance over time. In terms of access, this can often be achieved by having stairwells and access points between the facade and the building's exterior – or otherwise allowing room for a cherry-picker to get close to the building. There are also a few companies currently producing robots for cleaning facades – in many cases they need a place to dock, so incorporating this into design can also be useful for maintaining the facade in the long haul.

There are a huge number of factors involved in design, and we haven't even touched on compliance, but the possibilities for what can be done are growing every day. If you're ready to talk materials, we'd love to hear from you, so get in touch with the team at Locker Group today.

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How can wire mesh curtains be utilised in architecture and interior design?

How wire mesh curtains can liven up your space

Wire mesh curtains are an ideal architectural solution for delineating space, adding texture to an interior, or for decorative use in a facade. Locker Group's curtains are made from uniquely shaped interconnected metal threads, custom made in a variety of profiles and materials to meet the unique requirements of your project. Our curtains add a touch of modern sophistication wherever they're applied – here's how they can liven up your spaces.

How can wire mesh break up large spaces?Space delineation in the dining room of the Cremorne Hotel.

Mesh curtains make great partitions

If you have a large open space, wire mesh curtains are a fantastic way of delineating areas when the entire space isn't necessary. This can make a larger room much more intimate and add a sense of privacy. It's also a way to create private seating areas in a restaurant, cafe or bar. The great thing about using mesh curtains in this way is that they can be installed on tracks so they can be drawn or retracted, allowing you to get the best of both worlds; smaller intimate spaces as well as larger, open ones. Wire mesh curtains allow air to move freely through them, so there's no need to think about ventilation if you're using them as permanent partitions or screens

How can wire mesh curtains add texture to a space?An internal screen adds texture at Ausnet Victoria.

Mesh curtains add texture

Locker Group produce mesh curtains in an extensive range of profiles and they are available in stainless steel, brass or aluminium. This means you have quite a few options for how the curtains will look and feel. Mesh curtain segments can be used in two dimensional surfaces to add a little bit of texture to an interior design scheme, and can be created for use in three dimensional structures as well.

Wire mesh curtains be used to create striking facades.Wire mesh curtains used in the stunning facade of Monash Library Caulfield.

Mesh curtains bring style and function to facades

Using wire mesh curtains in your building facade can create striking visuals and make a grand impression on those who come into contact with it. But there are additional reasons why this is a fantastic material for facades. The open profile of wire mesh curtains limits visibility, providing privacy, though at the same time our curtains do allow light to pass through. Acting as a screen against the glare of the sun while still allowing the passage of natural light, these curtains give a building's occupants the best of both worlds.

We've established that wire mesh curtains can contribute to the aesthetic of a building or space, but once you've seen some of the applications, you'll understand that this is a product that speaks for itself. For more information about wire mesh curtains, get in contact with us today.

Check out some of our completed projects.
Locker Group produced perforated zinc sheets for Monash University's new Learning and Education building at the Clayton campus.

Case study: Monash University Clayton

The new Learning and Teaching building at the Clayton campus of Monash University was recently completed. John Wardle Architects designed the building and utilised perforated metal products from Locker Group to create the facade. The folded perforated metal facade covers all sides of this four-storey building and acts as a sunshade without hindering visibility from the inside out. It was no small project, and there were a number of hurdles on the way to completing this truly stunning project.

What were the requirements of this project?

Monash University made a commitment to sustainability, and implemented goals to reduce its carbon footprint. Since their buildings make up an approximate 80 per cent of their emissions, sustainability was a priority for Monash University in constructing the Clayton campus. The zinc sheets that make up the facade played into this. Zinc is easy to recycle, as it retains its integrity and performance properties so it can be reused. The International Zinc Association states that 95 per cent of zinc products used in buildings are recycled.

The facility is truly state of the art. With collaborative and unconventional learning spaces throughout, the campus reflects new ways of approaching education. As a cutting-edge education facility, it was important that the facade of the building was as unique as the spaces inside. This is why Monash University partnered with the award-winning John Wardle Architects, who in turn utilised products from Locker Group's extensive portfolio to give the building its flair.

How does the building's facade reflect that which is inside?The building needed to be as unique on the outside as it is inside.

Which Locker Group products were used?

While Locker Group supplied perforated sheets for the entire facade, it's not actually a single uniform product the entire way around. The large sheets covering the north, east and west sides of the building had three different perforation patterns per sheet. For the parts of the facade that cover windows, a profile with 50 per cent open area was used. Often, smaller profiles can play with your eyes, and so the chosen profile was to allow occupants of the building to see clearly out the windows. The other profiles used on these sheets had a much lower open area, in order to act as weather shielding. The south facing side of the building has one uniform perforation pattern.

The sheets are made of 99.9% pure zinc. As a natural material, zinc requires minimal maintenance over time due to the self-protective patina that forms over the metal to maintain surface integrity. Zinc has a tendency to age gracefully, which combined with its strength, is why it has been a popular roofing material in Europe for over 150 years.

What challenges were faced in producing these perforated metal sheets?Manufacturing the perforated metal sheets for the facade was something of a challenge.

What were the challenges in producing these sheets?

Locker Group's manufacturing team had to get creative in producing the zinc sheets. The facade is approximately 11 metres tall, and the architects wanted as little joinery and steelwork as possible. We were able to produce sheets large enough that only two would be required to span the height of the facade.

In order to keep the steelwork down, these were fixed to three beams running perpendicular to the sheets, and each sheet was fixed only at the top and bottom. Since zinc is fairly lightweight, this was more than sufficient support to hold the panels in place. Since they were being folded in a unique way, they became more rigid, meaning we could make them longer and minimise the steelwork as per the designers preference.

To give you an idea of the scale of this facade, which envelops the building, approximately 1,552 panels were used, which is equal to about 95 tonnes of metal. The perforated zinc panels were folded in such a way that they spanned approximately 8.5 thousand square metres on a surface only 4.5 thousand square metres in size.

The zinc used in this perforated metal facade is 90 per cent recycled.The finished product is simply stunning to behold.

The finished result

The completed project is a facade that really catches the eye. You might be impressed by our photos, but they in no way compare to how grand this building looks when you stand in front of it. The zinc is simply beautiful, and it will look better and better over time, offering something special and unique to every new generation of students and educators that use it. Locker Group is proud to have supplied the materials that give the building's exterior its character. Although manufacturing the sheets wasn't easy, we can find the solutions necessary to deliver our clients metal products that stand up on the world stage.

Whatever it is you need to give your next project a unique visual character without sacrificing functionality, Locker Group has the expertise to make it happen. For more information, contact us now, or check out more of our work via the link below.

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What does your perforated metal profile say about you?

The unique characteristics of perforated metals

Locker Group has over 60 years experience in the business of manufacturing perforated metal. We produce a huge range of perforated profiles, and each has its own unique, distinctive character. But what are the characteristics that make each product unique? It's not just a shape, it's a personality, so without further adieu, here is what each profile has to say for itself.

Perforated metal profile: Champagne

Champagne

Champagne is literally the life of the party, but not in an obnoxious way. Interesting, witty, and not afraid to be a little bit silly, Champagne is naturally charismatic and turns heads without even trying. It's said that Champagne once performed karaoke for 36 straight hours and only stopped because there were no songs left. Champagne might not be for everyone, but no one can deny its magnitude.

Perforated metal profile: Aztec

Aztec

While Aztec has its fair share of academic credibility, it certainly doesn't think it's better than you. Well-read, well-traveled, and concerned for the wellbeing of all living things, the uninitiated may refer to Aztec as a "hippy" though in truth it's a hard-working profile that is proactive about bringing about positive change in the world. Fun fact: Aztec is fluent in three languages and continues to appear as a guest lecturer at Universities around the world.

Perforated metal profile: Sheer 2800 / Hexagon

Sheer 2800

Sheer 2800 (or Hexagon to its friends) is smart and creative, like a scientist with a flair for experimentation. Obsessed with the complex geometric relationships of living cells*, Hexagon is a leader in its field and tends to garner respect from all corners. Though it seems fairly simple at first, Hexagon is more impressive every time you look at it and even its detractors will admit there is something intrinsically fascinating about this profile.

*We're not sure what this means either, you'll have to pick up Hexagon's latest book.

Perforated metal profile: Ribbon

Ribbon

Ribbon is often the shyest of the profiles, but when it comes out of its shell you'd be surprised by how kooky and fun this profile can be. Ribbon tends to view the world through the eyes of a child, and when you interact with it, this tendency sometimes rubs off – leaving you to enjoy a wondrous world of colour and shape. Ribbon enjoys play-doh, fire-engines, and spaghetti.

Perforated metal profile: Niche

Niche 250

Not a lot is known about the profile that is Niche. Some say it was created in a small town on the SA/NSW border in the late 1970s, others say that Niche has simply always been. Niche is a night-dweller with a serious composure, often preferring its own company to that of others. Highly motivated and darkly attractive, rumours persist that Niche is either a sith lord or a vampire. Attempts to confirm either rumour have been met only with maniacal laughter.

Perforated metal profile: Herringbone

Herringbone 19

Remember the good old days? Herringbone certainly does. By no means a simple profile, Herringbone has a certain depth and elegance all its own. It would be wrong to call Herringbone a relic, since this is a modern profile in a changing world. Quietly wise, Herringbone has seen it all but won't stop smiling – it knows that best of times is still to come. Herringbone was a confidante of Ernest Hemingway and supposedly taught Stephen Fry everything that he knows.

So, which one of these profiles resonates best with you? Contact Locker Group today for more information.

Check out some of the work we've done in the past.
The Sportshub at the University of Queensland is a great example of creative facade design.

First impressions count: What your facade says about you

Locker Group's range of perforated metal offers excellent materials for building facades, and make no mistake, this is one of the most important design elements of your project. Cognitive scientists have proved buildings can affect mood and feelings of well-being in humans, thanks to specially attuned cells in the hippocampus.

In coming years, these psychology-based insights could begin to play a major role in how cities are designed. In the meantime, it's worth considering how your building will fit, not just into its location, but into the hearts and minds of those who will interact with it.

How can building design affect people?

In his 2015 book Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life, Colin Ellard (a cognitive neuroscientist) describes an experiment he undertook in a suburb of New York's Lower East Side. Ellard walked small groups of people around a partially gentrified neighbourhood and found that his subjects were unhappy and bored when faced with modern, slab-like structures with little creativity exercised in facade design.

Furthermore, pre-eminent urbanist Jan Gehl has observed that people will increase their walking speed when passing a blank building facade. Psychologist Daniel Berlyne has stated that humans are biologically disposed to prefer locations with some architectural complexity, and are easily bored when this complexity is absent. Even brief episodes of boredom have been proven to increase levels of bodily stress hormones, according to a 2015 study from the University of Waterloo.

While this is an extremely brief example of how buildings can affect people, the implications of these studies suggest an increased need for more human-centric facade design.

Generic facades leave a lot to be desired because we humans prefer some level of complexity.Pictured: Not a whole lot, actually.

How can this be manipulated?

While certain design theories may point to individual methods for adding a human touch, there is no single guaranteed feature that will make a facade more interesting to humans. The flip side to this is there are no hard and fast rules. An architect has a lot to juggle, and a facade needs to do many things. Getting creative with a facade will lead to a greater engagement from those who use the building, and more positive feelings and associations for those who live in the area.

How perforated metal can be used in facade design

Our perforated metal can be manufactured to any specification, meaning the only limit is your imagination.  Check out our 2017 Lookbook for some amazing finished projects, using perforated metal and Locker Pic Perf, by some of Australia's greatest architects.

For more information about perforated metal in architectural contexts, contact us today.

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Perforated metal is a versatile material, but how is it made?

How is perforated metal made?

Perforated metal has been used for the last 150 odd years for a number of purposes. First developed as a filtering system for coal miners, the original perforation process was lengthy and exhaustive. In the old days, labourers would manually punch individual holes into a metal sheet, but thankfully, more efficient manufacturing processes have been developed since then.

Our manufacturing process

We start with a coil of sheet metal in the desired gauge of the product we're making. There are a few different methodologies for different products, however for standard products the coil is fed into one of the machines. The machine's rollers pull the metal through, and the holes are punched by needles mounted on a rotating cylinder as the sheet metal moves through the machine.

For more specialised products such as Pic Perf, the whole sheet would be loaded into a turret punch, where the pattern is programmed in. This way the machines can punch the right configuration of different sized holes to present the larger image. The turret punch allows multiple needle profiles and sizes to be swapped into the punching position, so it's perfect for jobs that require unconventional patterns or greater detail.

Perforated metal manufacturingOur factory is set up in such a way that we can produce perforated metal in a huge range of profiles.

Our flexibility with customisation

One of the things we pride ourselves on is our ability to provide unique tailored perforated metal solutions to our customers. We've set up operations in such a way that we can be flexible in terms of delivering specific or one off products. In many cases we've had to create new tooling to complete custom jobs. We are not put off by this, and we are certainly not the type of company to say "we can't do it." If it can be made, we can find a way to make it.

Our team are always looking for ways to improve the range.

Our engineering team are always looking for ways to improve the range, and this involves some experimentation. Trying out new methods, experimenting with tensile strengths and folding/trimming techniques to the get the best possible product out of the design and manufacturing teams. It's this dedication to flexible solutions and experimentation with materials and processes that helps us stay ahead of the market.

Perforated metals have a huge range of applications. From facades, screens and balustrades to filters, grilles and ventilation. Meshstore is your one stop shop for pre-made perforated and expanded metals, woven and welded wires, and metal planking and railing products. Backed by the industry leading Locker Group, you can shop online right now, check out one of our branches, or contact us for more information.

Gold on the ceiling: A case study of PwC Sydney, by Futurespace & Civardi Furniture

Global accounting and consultancy firm PwC recognised that business is changing. Their clients were implementing new technologies and processes that eclipsed those that came before, and PwC realised that in order to meet the demands of this changing landscape, they needed to change too. Looking to make a fresh start, PwC worked to establish new premises that would integrate technology and modern, sustainable design to create a space that is less business, and more destination. The goal was to provide an environment that lent itself to creativity and collaboration, one that could boost efficient workflow while retaining the flexibility to support the working processes of a multitude of different clients.

PWC SydneyPwC's client experience centre in their new Barangaroo offices. A design that welcomes from the get-go.

Project background

While PwC developed new premises in many of their locations, it's the Sydney office that utilised Locker Group's woven wire. Situated west of the CBD in the multi-award winning Barangaroo development, PwC is situated at One International Towers, Watermans Quay. Their clients will find the new customer experience centre over four levels, beginning at the welcoming centre on level 17.

PwC brought in Futurespace for the interior design. As a forward thinking architecture and interior design agency, Futurespace had the passion and approach to create a truly unique design. Inspired by the emergence of companies introducing disruptive business models, PwC hoped to to change the way their business operated, and this needed to begin with where the business was operating. Dedicated to many of the same principles that PwC hoped to integrate into the design, Futurespace was the best agency for the job.

Futurespace Design Director, Gavin Harris, explained that moving away from a more traditional consultancy layout was essential. It was important to design a space that had multiple settings, that would foster collaboration and greater results for PwC's client base. Harris described how the Futurespace team looked at hospitality, branded airport lounges, and other types of co-creation spaces to inform the way that the PwC customer experience would need to function.

Of course, it was more than simply function that PwC required. The customer experience centre also needed to look and feel unique – the multiple interactive elements had to come together as a cohesive whole. This is where the gold ceiling comes in. Locker Groups Planar 441 woven wire was used as a ribbon that winds its way through the space and connects everything together. The wire is visually striking, particularly where it dips and becomes a shield for the window of the foyer. This feature, coupled with the unique viewing portal, makes an immediate impression as soon as clients step out of the lift.

PWC Sydney foyerThe foyer of PwC's client experience level.

Why Locker Group's Planar 441?

In bringing Planar 441 to PwC, Futurespace teamed up with Civardi Furniture, a specialist joinery manufacturer dedicated to pushing the boundaries of materials and design. Civardi have their own extensive portfolio of innovative and visually pleasing solutions, and this is what drew the team at Futurespace to collaborate with them.

Gavin and his team had an idea early in the design process about using a material that would render the ceiling a transparent gold. The downward curve of the wire against the foyer window was something the team had hoped to implement early on, believing it to be a strong welcoming statement that was both interesting and inviting. While trialing possible materials, tone, colour and profile were taken into consideration as the designers weighed up the strengths of different types of metal to see if their vision was possible.

Gavin explained that finding the right woven wire product is what brought the idea to fruition. Locker Group's Planar 441 offered the right amount of reflectivity and transparency without sacrificing lighting, sound, or aesthetics. It was ideally suited as the consistent texture between the shielding in the foyer and the ceiling panels, lighting the way for PwC clients.

PwC client loungeFuturespace and Civardi make the most of Planar 441.

Implementing the woven wire

While Gavin and the Futurespace team had hoped to implement a feature like the woven wire ceiling, it was not without it's challenges. Initially there was some concern around how it would be mounted, and whether this would negatively impact the lighting, sprinklers and fire alarms, and that optimal acoustics would remain intact. In turn, it was also important that these essential fixtures didn't detract from the metal's beauty. With proof of concept coming from Civardi, the panels were able to be installed via a supporting spring line.

The final product

Ultimately, Gavin, the Futurespace design team and the specialists from Civardi created a wonderfully vibrant and engaging environment. Locker Group's Planar 441 woven mesh panels create a strong impression from the very moment a client enters the building. This new space will change the way PwC interact with their clients, and it was all achieved by a winning combination of creative minds, skilled hands, and top quality materials. For more information about Locker Group products, or to find out what materials we have that will suit your next project, get in touch today.

Finding the right architectural products to blend with nature can be challenging.

3 Locker Group products that blend industrial and green

Sydney Park marks one of the city's most visually distinctive open spaces, due to its post-industrial brick kilns towering over the north-western corner and recently revitalised wetland areas.

In 2014, the City of Sydney metropolitan council launched an ongoing park management strategy for the coming years which will redevelop the area. The council put communicating the cultural heritage of the area and increasing public amenities high on the agenda, with a specification towards architectural designs in keeping with the area's industrial history.

What better way to embrace the industrial history of the the Sydney Park area than with art installations and innovative architectural structures that blend visual appeal with a durable industrial edge? Locker Group have a range of architectural products that would suit.

Our range

Locker Group have a range of products that provide a striking architectural look, and have a history of use in integrating green spaces into an urban environment:

  • Perforated metal – one of our most popular products, perforated metal offers users an innovative architectural look. Perforations can be adapted to client specification, taking into account shape, size and profile. Their design allows for water run-off, which prevents rusting, and the sheets come in a variety of surface treatment options to ensure minimised natural wear-and-tear. Available in a variety of metal substrates, they add a rugged industrial edge to sun shading canopies or art installations.

Perforated metal allows ample light and airflow.Perforated metal allows ample light and airflow.

  • Hi Light louvres – these colourful products are ideal for sun shading, vital in a park space that will draw the public to stroll in the sunshine. With treatments available to reflect glare and prevent sun damage, Hi Light louvres are available in a range of bright and bold colours that truly make your space stand out. The aluminium grating is also perfect for screening private spaces and parking areas from view.
  • Expanded metal mesh – a truly multifunctional product, this metal mesh fabric is customisable to client needs and easily installable, instantly providing a distinct architectural look that also functional. The metal mesh can provide sun shading on hot days while still encouraging air flow. Additionally, creeper plants growing through the perforations perfectly blend the industrial with the natural, a visual best serving the history of Sydney Park.
Sydney Park can be the model of innovative architectural products meeting nature. Sydney Park can be the model of innovative architectural products meeting nature.
Sydney Park's rich heritage deserves distinctive architectural concepts that beautifies the park for public access and embraces the area's industrial past. Locker Group have a range of products to suit, blending visual appeal with industrial durability. If you have an architectural project with a similar specification, speak to our friendly team today and we can figure out what's best for you.
Faulty construction products can be dangerous. Use Locker Group solutions instead!

Why cheap construction materials can be deadly

 

There is now an increasing tendency to forgo using quality construction products in order to save money and time. This may reflect well on a budget sheet, but the consequences can be deadly. Last month, the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in the U.K claimed the lives of dozens of people, with cheap, combustible building cladding the culprit.

Cutting corners also extends to Australia, with a series of spontaneously exploding glass balconies in Melbourne apartments highlighting the rising tide of cheap imported construction materials. In an effort to address this, the Australian Building Codes Board recently launch a new website to help people understand the building code and the importance of product safety, according to a Housing Industry Association release.

”A national webpage like this is important for everyone in the building product supply chain,” said HIA Chief Executive of Industry Policy Kristin Brookfield.

”It is vital, now more than ever, to take action and ensure that builders are not the only people responsible for checking product quality.”

It is important to ensure that builders are not the only people responsible for checking product quality.

At Locker Group, we create architectural solutions that are carefully designed, rigorously tested and meet stringent Australian safety and quality standards. The cost of using inferior products in your next construction project could prove calamitous, so have a look at why Locker Group products are the way to go.

Architectural

Locker Group’s architectural solutions have been widely used in installations and buildings nationwide, notably at the Float Art Project in Sydney and the La Trobe University Dining Hall in Melbourne. Our designs combine innovative visual appeal with unrivaled architectural functionality.

Our variety of metal facade sheets are ideal in making your building exterior striking while also providing screening from the sun and maintaining air flow. The internal facade options are custom designed and easily installable to enhance visual appeal while creating spaces you can re-design endlessly. All products are made from strengthened steel, copper and aluminum substrates, coupling beauty with brawn – and all are meticulously tested to meet Australian standards.

The effects of poor construction materials can be deadly.The effects of poor construction materials can be deadly.

Industrial

Working in heavy industry throws up the threat of numerous costly breakdowns and worker injuries as a result of substandard materials. Locker Group’s industrial range is one of the largest in Australia, with everything from grip-designed and durable metal flooring to robust conveyor belts and roof walkway kits for safety working at heights.

Our products, including the characteristic variety of metal sheets and wire meshes definitive of Locker Group, can be custom designed to user specifications and are able to resist the extreme temperatures of industry, meaning your production will be able for full efficiency in no time.

It is important to factor in the cost of replacing inferior building products later on. It is important to factor in the cost of replacing inferior building products later on.

Mining & Quarrying

Locker Group have been supporting Australian mines and quarrying for years with quality products that are rigorously tested to meet extreme conditions. Roaring heat, high pressure and constant abrasion are just some of the tests that construction products face here, so we have designed ours to be as strong as they are functional.

Our screen meshes and machine accessories are made from a variety of materials, including mild steel, rubber and other durable materials requiring minimal need for maintenance or cleaning. Failure to meet safety standards for equipment and products in mining and quarrying can be catastrophic and deadly, so make sure you use reputable products with a history of supporting the industry.

Using construction products that meet Australian standards will be less costly in the long run, after considering the time-consuming maintenance and repair of inferior construction products. Locker Group are industry-certified and Standards compliant, and have been since 1956. For more information on any of our construction solutions, or for assistance picking out the superior Australian-made product you need for your next project, contact the team.

Winter blues can lower work productivity. But architectural materials could have a solution.

How Locker Group’s architectural solutions can help winter blues

 

Winter has arrived, meaning the days are growing darker earlier and more people are feeling the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a widespread condition in which mentally-healthy people experience mild depressive symptoms over winter due to less daily sunlight, having some negative effect on workforce productivity and social interaction.

A July 2015 McCrindle survey of 1,000 people indicated 33 per cent felt under-motivated at their workplace during winter, while 27 per cent felt generally less productive. Many commercial buildings exacerbate this problem with closed-off office spaces and dark decor, ill-fitting to capture the natural sunlight needed to boost our mood during the dark winter months.

Locker Group are leaders in introducing innovative architecture materials to enhance the visual appeal of commercial buildings to suit any concept or conditions. Below, we explore how three of our architectural products can help banish those winter blues by adding more sunlight to your office space.

Woven Wire

Woven Wire can be used on building facades for a sun-streaming effect, allowing maximum sunlight exposure. It is built in a variety of durable metal substrates to resist harsh winter weather and wearing, and are customisable to exact client specifications.

Woven Wire can also be used internally for a delicate textural finish over light shades, lowering the harsh artificial glare of lights. This function is particularly important, as the increased use of artificial light to compensate for shorter daylight hours during winter contributes to SAD symptoms.

Woven Wire can also be used internally for a delicate textural finish over light shades.

Perforated Metal

One of our most popular and enduring items, Perforated Metal is typically used on building facades to add visual texture without sacrificing function – indeed, sporadic facade installations around a building result in little loss of warmth insulation, keeping your building warm and dry. It also contributes to encouraging natural sunlight flow through the metal sheet’s holes.

We are able to perforate a range of of materials, and would recommend darker-coloured metals like copper and brass, rather than cold grey and silver metals, to give your office visual warmth during winter months. These sheets can also be customised with an imprinted image in the perforation pattern, displaying a company’s logo or as an architecturally-integrated alternative to an art piece.

Perforated Metal helped Porsche achieve their distinct brand look, while keeping the building sunny. Perforated Metal helped Porsche achieve their distinct brand look, while keeping the building sunny.

Curtains

Locker Group’s Transit Curtains are the ideal solution for office spaces that you want to customise and re-shape easily. These wire mesh screens are widely used in modern commercial and retail spaces for their ability to allow light and airflow through seamlessly while still maintaining privacy between separate areas.

Attach the Curtains to tracks to effortlessly change the layout of your office whenever you want, or drape them from the ceiling to cover unsightly appliances – they have endless potential for a chic way of increasing natural light and breaking down stern dividing walls in office spaces. This is particularly helpful in addressing lowered levels of collaboration with work colleagues in winter months, a problem highlighted by 28 per cent of polled Australians in the McCrindle study.

Transit Curtains are used in retail to maintain lots of natural light and airflow. Transit Curtains are used in retail to maintain lots of natural light and airflow.

Our range of architectural building solutions are built towards creating visually stunning and innovative spaces, designed to get the most from your environment. In the cold winter months, social isolation and depression in the workforce is going untreated, with dull commercial spaces dividing colleagues from one another and leaving them with little exposure to natural sunlight. Contact our friendly team today so we can shed a little light on how our simple architectural solutions could brighten up your winter blues.

Rugby meets industrial architecture as Locker unpack their solutions to Australia's Super Rugby weaknesses.

Locker Group’s industrial fixes the envy of Australian Super Rugby

 

It has been a tough season of Super Rugby for the Australian franchises. The five sides have performed poorly on-field, only managing 18 wins between them over 14 rounds. Off-field, they have been contending with plummeting attendance, poor senior management and deteriorating revenues that will see one of the franchises – as of yet undecided – fold after the current season.

While Locker Group can’t fix the Australian sides’ numerous on-field problems, they certainly can provide efficient solutions for your business’ industrial architecture needs. These solutions include security strengthening and addressing conveying issues, problems the Super Rugby franchises would surely love to fix as well. Locker Group’s range of industrial building materials are industry-vaunted in providing lighter, stronger and more durable products for industrial use, giving your business a toughness, visual appeal, and unrivalled functionality.

The Australian franchises have lacked the toughness or durability of Locker's industrial building range. The Australian franchises have lacked the toughness or durability of Locker’s industrial building range.

Expanded Security mesh

This season, Australian franchise sides have conceded nearly 2,000 points, a staggering statistic. If an industrial space had such regular breaches of security, they would contact Locker Group asking about Expanded Security metal mesh.

Traditionally, mesh sheets have been placed over doors and windows as fly screens, with one-way vision technology preventing outsiders from seeing in. Expanded Security operates with the same one-way vision, but set inside a reinforced frame to act as a lightweight but durable security fence.

Locker Group’s industrial building materials are industry-vaunted in providing lighter, stronger and more durable products.

Conveyer Belting 

The mesh also comes in perforated metal, with its small holes impermeable to hot embers from bushfires and sheer impact from knives or other objects. Expanded Security has passed all the Australian standards for impact damage and security, making it the perfect option to secure a leaky defence or valuable industrial unit.

Tries have been rare for the Australian sides; only five bonus points have been secured for scoring four or more tries, pointing to an issue conveying the ball over the try line under tough conditions. Locker Group’s Conveyer Belt designs are made from a variety of metals and can operate under extreme temperature or pressure conditions, built with durability and towards customer-specification.

This customer focus provides you with belting truly fit-for-purpose. For lightweight products, we use Flexigrid parallel wiring to ensure no damage; for heavier products, we use strong steel mesh to counteract extreme conditions and heavy loads. The metal belts are all easily assembled and able to withstand a range of temperatures, from blast chilling at -250°C to heating and drying at 1200°C.

Their industrial strength will see your conveyor operations simplified, and could show the franchises a thing or two about efficient conveying.

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Gridwalk flooring

Even without poor performances on-field, Australian Super Rugby’s numerous off-field issues have prevented the franchises from finding any steady footing from which to improve. Maybe they should have contacted Locker Group to discuss stable flooring options.

Gridwalk is an expanded metal flooring range, designed to create industrially tough floors and walkways that’ll stand up to most conditions. Their expanded diamond pattern provides extra strength and grip for walking or transporting equipment, and they are hugely easy to install. Customers have the option to use removable fixing clips for adaptability, or weld them directly to a structure for increased strength.

They are virtually maintenance-free and durable through most industrial processes, making Gridwalk the perfect option for those looking for a strong and reliable base that won’t collapse beneath them.

Had the Australian franchises recognised their need for industrial strengthening early on, perhaps they would have had a more durable and long-lasting season. As for industrial customers looking for architectural solutions that have industry-noted success and functionality, look no further. Contact our friendly Locker team today to figure out how to improve your industrial problem with simple architectural solutions.

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