We recently completed the construction design, manufacture and installation of two 7-metre high totems at Church Street Market in London, situated at either end of the market premises. This was part of a scheme to generally improve the surrounding area and evoke more of a vibrant, community feel.
Description of project:
• We were tasked with carrying out construction design development based on a concept provided by architects Lacock Gullam. It was our job to carry out the manufacture and installation of both totems.
• Our brief from the client, Westminster City Council, was to exactly match the concept design, which we achieved in full. We were given the freedom to change the internal structure to suit as long as the externals remained true to the original design.
• The construction had to achieve a number of difficult and sometimes conflicting things. This design consisted of very fine tolerances in a very large structure, which then had to be built in a modular form for transportation to site for local assembly.
• The external steel cladding panels are shot-peened (similar to sandblasting but utilising tiny ball bearings) to build up a durable and attractive matte finish. In order to achieve this without distorting the panels, they had to be shot-peened evenly and progressively on both sides to keep the material balanced and avoid warping.
• The LED-illuminated individual squares ‘tiles’ are comprised of a glass face panel. These had to be held in place with a minimal trim, with no visible means of fixing. The letters on these panels are engraved and then in-filled black, with coloured vinyl to the rear.
• The totems were constructed in kit form to ease transport, and were assembled onsite prior to installation.
Scope of involvement
• We carried out the construction design development, manufacture and installation of both totems, working closely with the client to ensure we turned their initial concepts into workable solutions.
Innovative Elements/Particular Challenges
• A challenging aspect was the extent and grade of shot-peening desired, something not straightforward to get right on such large surface areas. This went through an extensive sampling process with the client in order to obtain the right finish.
• Transporting the signage to site and carrying out assembly and installation in a confined streetscape was also logistically challenging, as was the complex interface with piled base-work and power supply posts.
• We utilised shot-peening for both the stainless steel cladding and mild steel structure. A special method of LED lighting was used, which involved void lighting to provide even-ness and avoid any hot-spots.