This month's Specifier takes a look inside the warehouses of the most innovative interior specialists, where we find everything from 1960s-style wall coverings to a high-tech acoustic design program. Plus, internet company Valtech reveals its curious makeover
Curiouser and curiouser
Alice in Wonderland was one of the inspirations for this recent interior redesign by London architect Harper Mackay. Over-sized doors and cryptic signage styled on the Lewis Carrol classic are recurring features of the three-floor project for global internet company Valtech. Huw Williams of Harper Mackay said the huge floor-to-ceiling images adorning the partition walls were chosen to reflect the global nature of the company. Pictures of the Swiss Alps, tropical beaches, waterfalls and Times Square are among the images chosen, which are attached to plasterboard using self-adhesive vinyl. To create the training room partitions Harper Mackay used Blue Thermonda Sheeting, a rippled plastic from Rockwell that is usually specified as a cheap roofing material. The sheeting was screwed to the plasterboard with screws and painted a vibrant blue.

Project team
Harper Mackay
Main contractor
Ibex Interiors
Key Joinery
Image walls
Swan Graphics
Clear Direction

Built units
Dupont/Key Joinery
Rippled plastic partitions
Blue Thermonda Sheeting, Rockwell
Storage walls
Wall finishes
Universal Blinds, Cellbond, Pilkington

Center parcs gets PVCu ceilings
Bathrooms in 71 villas at the Sherwood Forest Center Parcs have been fitted with PVCu ceiling panels produced by PVC extrusion expert Deceuninck. The project required 9500 m of ceiling system, 9000 m of infill for the profiles, 2000 m of edging trim and 1200 m of support rail. The panels were supplied by Ceilings Distribution and installed by East Midlands Ceilings.

Deceuninck 900

Social use for sliding doors
Coburn Straightaway sliding door gear has been used by Cox Bulleid Architects to provide sliding wooden panels in a social housing refurbishment in Kennington, south London. The two panels dividing bedrooms and living space were lacquered bright orange and were constructed from twin sheets of MDF bonded onto a core of cardboard honeycomb.

Coburn 901

G Decorative cladding for deli
Gooding Aluminium's decorative cladding panels have been used in the refurbishment of the deli bar at the Weybridge offices of GlaxoSmithKline. The walls have been clad in a combination of impressionable panels, finished in metallic silver, and glass.

Gooding Aluminium 902

Plasterboard suspension system
USG has launched Donn DXSF, a flat plasterboard concealed suspension system that is compatible with other Donn exposed grids. USG claims it allows for easy integration between different surfaces such as a plastered monolithic border and an acoustical or exposed metal ceiling. DXSF can be used with Donn DXC, the curved version of the plasterboard, and is also compatible with USG's other specialty ceilings systems such as Curvatura and Compasso.

USG 903

Optima scoops partitioning awards
Optima Partitioning Systems picked up two gongs in the partitioning category at the Association of Interior Specialists annual awards. It won the overall gold partitioning award for its installation for law firm White & Case in London, which comprised single-glazed partitioning fronts, maple doorsets and drywalling. Optima Partitioning also won an award for its single-glazed office front for the London office of another law firm, Slaughter and May. The office front incorporates storage cabinets, joinery and demountable solid BiPanel crosswalls, all of which have been designed to allow for deflection.

Optima Partitioning Systems 911

NMC extends range of covings
Supplier nmc has extended its range of lightweight Nomastyl ceilings centres and covings with the launch of Nomaclic coving. The company says the four standard coving profiles can be combined to form up to 256 designs. Nomaclic is manufactured in 2 m lengths from high-density extruded styrene and nmc says it can be cut and installed by one person, without the use of special tools. The coving is supplied in a white surface finish, but can be painted using a water-based paint. The materials used by nmc mean the coving is CFC-free and has an ozone depletion potential of zero.

NMC 912

AMF launches three new ceiling tiles
AMF Ceilings has launched three new ranges of ceiling tile. The Silence tile consists of a sandwich panel of two bonded layers of high-density mineral wool and the firm says it provides a high level of sound attenuation as well as good acoustic absorption and fire resistance. Thermaclean S is a high-density tile faced with cleanable PVC-coated foil. It is designed for areas requiring a hygienic finish. The 1200 × 1200 mm tile has random perforations and a lightly textured surface. It can be used with AMF's embossed tee suspension grid and offers good sound absorption and fire resistance.

AMF Ceilings 913

Mosaic tile fixer
Mosaic-Fix is a new tile adhesive from BAL, designed to fix all types of mosaic tiles. The company says the bright white, non-slip, water- and frost-resistant thin bed tile adhesive is suitable for tiles made of glass, metal and natural stone. According to BAL, the bright white finish of the adhesive means easier grouting, which reduces the appearance of adhesive residues in the grout lines. It can be used in swimming pools and power showers and can be used on most surfaces including MDF, overlaid timber floors and boards.

BAL 916

Building Regulations courses
The National Interior Specialists Training Group is holding one-day management training courses on the 2002 amendments to the Building Regulations. The course specifically covers regulation changes affecting building interiors. The Building Regulations covered are Regulation 7 and Parts B, E, F, H, J, K, L, M and N. The courses are being held on 2, 10 and 16 October in Bristol, Crawley and Manchester and cost £174 + VAT for non-members.

  • Contact the Association of Interior Specialists on 0121-707 0077 for further information.

    What's the spec?

    BP’s Britannic House restaurant, Finsbury Circus, London
    DEGW’s interior design for BP’s new restaurant is intended to function as a workplace and a relaxation area. Mood lighting, intimate booths and red leather banquettes offer a cosy dining experience; meanwhile, desk-high tables and network connections in lamps and partition fins allow staff to work in comfort. A mixture of fixed and flexible furniture and fittings allows the interior to be changed from intimate spaces to large presentation areas. Among the movable items are tilting tables, stackable chairs and a sliding partition that conceals a projector screen and two 50-inch plasma screens. In keeping with BP’s Damascene conversion to the environmental cause, DEGW specified a host of green products, including recycled timber flooring and tables made from yoghurt pots and coffee cups. To get the message across to staff and visitors, nature photographs from BP’s own image collection have been printed on panels that are hung around the restaurant. Project team
    Project manager
    Johnson Controls
    Construction manager
    Westminster Joinery
    Ceiling contractor
    Phoenix Interiors

    Wallcoverings revive 1960s chic

    Helen Sheane has introduced four new fabric-backed vinyl designs and revised its existing ranges. The firm says the vinyl top coating makes the wallcoverings easier to handle and clean. Of the four new designs, two hark back to the 1960s: Tica is a polka dot design and Tana consists of retro orange stripes. The other two designs are Napoli, which has 3D antique bronze effect, and Minto, which has raised ribbing to create the effect of an endless piece of string. The company has also made changes to its Ocrea, Pleso and Sablon wallcoverings. Helen Sheane 909

    British Gypsum goes back to school

    British Gypsum and sister company BPB Placo has developed a computer program to help designers specify products that will improve acoustics in classrooms. The program works out the type and location of wall and ceiling materials needed to provide optimum speech intelligibility. It also makes sure that reverberation times stipulated in the education department’s guidelines are met. The designs are determined once data has been fed in on the size and shape of the room, windows and doors, the materials used for the walls and floor, and the location of teacher and pupils. The program produces a ceiling design using British Gypsum’s Arteco Casoprano Voice and Forte ceiling tiles which, the firm says, have a high level of sound absorption and reflectance respectively. It also identifies the optimum position to install Arteco Gyptone boards to reduce noise reflections off the back of the wall of the room. The acoustic program has already been used at St Joseph’s Catholic County Primary School in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. British Gypsum 910

    Sliding screens get to the Point

    Dorma’s Manet sliding glass screens have been installed in the conference centre of Edinburgh’s Point Hotel. The Manet system comprises precision-engineered stainless steel fixings that connect and locate plate-glass elements to create partitions, screens and doors. A single-point fixing allows the glass elements to be fitted flush to the glass wall. The sliding screens are used at the entrance to the conference suites to provide a physical and acoustic barrier. Dorma 914

    Restaurant gets anniversary makeover

    A tree structure with wavy leaves made from ply forms the centrepiece of Monahan Blythen Architects’ extension to the Punjab Restaurant on Neal Street, central London, commissioned to celebrate the restaurant’s 50th anniversary. The suspended ceiling canopy bears lighting and ventilation equipment and is constructed from maple veneer ply coated with a clear paint finish. The existing steel columns are clad in Supupiro hardwood from a registered Forest Stewardship Council source. The work was completed by Bendev Construction and the specialist joinery was carried out by the Case Cabinet Company, which custom-built a servery and recessed display panels as well as the canopy. Case Cabinet Company 915