Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Levolux dresses up Primark

The newly refurbished Primark store in Newcastle’s city centre now boasts around 114,600 sq feet of reconfigured retail space, and a remodelled exterior featuring a radical external Screening Solution by Levolux.

Thanks to a re-design by 3DReid architects, the building has undergone a dramatic transformation, shedding its concrete fa├žade in exchange for one that is ultra-modern, ornate and energy efficient.

As the UK’s leading solar shading specialist, Levolux was invited to develop an integrated screening solution that wraps around two elevations. The solution comprises both solid and perforated aluminium Fins and panels, with additional roof screening Louvres.

In contrast with conventional high street refurbishment projects, which are dominated by large expanses of glass, the Primark scheme stands apart by incorporating an outer layer of aluminium louvres and panels. These combine effectively to create a functional, yet highly decorative envelope.
The screening solution is designed to give the Primark store a new, ultra-modern identity with integrated branding and signage. At the same time, perforated panels provide shade to glazed openings, which improves comfort levels for occupants, while reducing the need for air-conditioning.

In total, Levolux installed 301 vertical Fabricated Fins at high level across the store’s two main frontages. An unusual ‘wine glass’ shaped profile was chosen, which tapers in width from 300mm at the rear, to just 50mm across its front edge.

The Fins, which have a maximum length of 4.5 metres and a depth of 300mm, create an attractive screen that enhances the building’s external appearance. They also provide a supportive grid, into which a series of perforated frames and branding panels could be integrated.
The vertical Fins are fixed at 700mm centres at high level, but this increases to 1.4 metres at first and second floor levels, to accommodate a series of perforated frames.

Each frame is formed from four perforated and folded aluminium panels, fixed back to the surrounding vertical Fins. The frames have bevelled edges and are truncated from top to bottom, creating a series of full height openings.
Elsewhere, the ‘Primark’ name has been indelibly etched into the fabric of the building, thanks to the incorporation of specially designed perforated panels fixed at high level on two elevations. The branding panels are perforated with 5mm wide slots, but larger 10mm wide slots have been engineered to form letters. At almost 3 metres in height and 15 metres in length, the Primark name becomes clearly visible from street level.

In addition, to complement the horizontal branding panels, Levolux installed a series of folded aluminium panels, arranged vertically, with the Primark name laser cut into the surface. Each vertical branding panel measures 4 metres in height and 750mm in width, and is fixed back to the vertical Fins.

To create a contrasting aesthetic, the screening fins, perforated frames and branding panels are illuminated from above and below at night, thanks to integrated light fittings.
Image Courtesy of Paul Carter
To complete the installation, Levolux applied its Contour screening louvres on the fifth floor to screen the building’s main plant room. Two louvred facades have been formed, using extruded aluminium ‘S’ profile blades, arranged horizontally, set at a 75mm pitch.

The louvred facades have a combined length of more than 14 metres, with a maximum height of 2.5 metres and are fitted with a birdmesh backing. Double louvred doors are incorporated to allow easy access to plant and equipment for servicing and maintenance.
The Contour Louvres on the fifth floor and all supporting aluminium components are finished in a light grey powder coating. In contrast, all facing aluminium components, such as the vertical Fins and perforated panels, have been given an attractive bronze Analok anodised finish, in one of three colours.

The refurbishment of Primark’s flagship store in Newcastle will provide a welcome boost to the local economy, not least by creating hundreds of jobs. By utilising highly sustainable and attractive features, such as the screening solution by Levolux, leading retailers can help fuel a high street revival.

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Monday, 10 June 2013

Levolux has it covered in Chicago

Following a £110 million ($168 million) refurbishment project, Hyatt Regency Chicago hotel, which dates back to 1974, is now regarded as one of the most high-tech hotels in the world, with electronic check-in pods, dynamic lighting and a unique screening solution from Levolux.

The £50 million refurbishment of the East Tower Lobby was the third and final stage of a three year renovation project, designed by acclaimed architects and planners at Bentel + Bentel.

The vast 4,000 sq metre lobby is located at the heart of the hotel, occupying a split-level atrium. This accommodates the hotel’s main entrance and reception, with spacious check-in areas and four reinvented restaurants. The lobby is renowned as a popular ‘hang-out’, not only serving guests staying in its 2019 guest rooms, but also attracting visitors for meetings, events or for fine dining.

The East Tower Lobby is encased by glass, resembling an enormous conservatory. This affords occupants envious outward views across the Chicago skyline and the southern shore of the Chicago River.
Typical of 1970’s glazed structures, the lobby lacked effective solar control and acoustic attenuation. This resulted in a ‘noisy’ environment which would invariably change according to external factors. Depending on the amount of cloud cover, cool and dull conditions would quickly give way to warm, bright conditions.

Levolux was approached to devise a custom screening solution, based on its popular Infiniti Fin system, to support three main objectives. Firstly to raise and maintain comfort levels, secondly to reduce noise transmission and finally to create a clean, contemporary aesthetic.

The solution comprised rectangular shaped Fins, applied internally to screen the glazed envelope, filtering direct sunlight as it enters the building. A proportion of these Fins have special acoustic qualities. Elsewhere, a series of twisted Fins provide an attractive screen at the site of the hotel’s entrance.

Swathes of rectangular shaped Fins, each measuring 200mm deep by 50mm wide, are fixed horizontally across the glazed ceiling, and vertically against the east and west elevations. All Fins are set at 300mm centres.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect is the application of Fins across the glazed ceiling. Here the Fins soar almost 10 metres above the split-level lobby, covering an area measuring 38 metres by 35 metres - equivalent to more than a quarter of an American football field. The Fins appear continuous, suspended from existing overhead steel trusses and secured using unique concealed stainless steel fixings.

To improve acoustic attenuation above the hotel’s popular ‘BIG Bar’ on the lobby’s upper level, Levolux adapted its standard Fin to create an Acoustic Fin. Unnoticeable from the ground, around a quarter of the Fins fixed across the ceiling are Acoustic Fins, covering an area measuring 35 metres by 10 metres.
The Acoustic Fins feature a special acoustic infill material, with a perforated skin on south-facing surfaces. They effectively absorb noise emitting from the hotel’s main bar area, helping to prevent it from spilling over into other areas.

The same rectangular shaped screening Fins have also been applied extensively across the east and west elevations, arranged vertically. Vertical Fins are aligned with those installed across the ceiling, extending down, with a maximum length of 6.5 metres. They not only provide effective screening at high level, but also create a neat backdrop, against which signage and display equipment can be seen clearly.
The Infiniti Fin system was the preferred choice as it offered the ideal balance between flexibility, functionality and aesthetic quality. It fulfils a variety of criteria such as reducing solar glare, improving acoustic attenuation and creating an attractive screen.

To complete the solution, Levolux was invited to supply a custom screen inside the hotel’s entrance at ground floor level. 35 twisted Fins, arranged vertically between the floor and the ceiling, extend to form a screen measuring 4.2 metres long by 3.2 metres high.

The Fins, which are fixed at 120mm centres, are engineered from extruded aluminium plate, measuring 100mm wide by 13mm thick. Each Fin incorporates a 180 degree twist from top to bottom, creating an open appearance at the top and bottom and closed in the middle.
All rectangular shaped Fins are finished in a durable ‘timber effect’ powder coating, while the twisted Fins are finished in a silver powder coating. At night, all Fins are illuminated by LED backlighting, which gives the lobby a cool, sophisticated aesthetic.

Hyatt Regency Chicago, located on East Wacker Drive, is the largest hotel in Chicago and the largest Hyatt property in the world. Following a multi-million pound investment, it can also boast a lobby to rival all others, not only in terms of offering spectacular views of downtown Chicago, but also for maintaining a naturally lit, comfortable environment all year-round, partly thanks to Levolux.   

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