Hunter Douglas is no stranger to prestige projects, so when the Bank of East Asia (BEA) decided to invest in its flagship UK branch, it seemed only fitting that the project included a UK first for the architectural products giant.
The bank, which has three branches in the UK, invested a significant sum in its Shaftsbury Avenue building in London, which has been providing retail and corporate banking services for more than 25 years.
The remodelled banking hall is almost double the size of the former space, providing ample room for its customers, and features a new and stylish interior design.
Alicia Cambra, interior designer at Aedas, which was appointed to undertake the work, wanted to achieve a contemporary and modern look that would have timeless appeal.
Because she had to resolve a number of complex issues surrounding the mechanical and engineering (M&E) installations, she made sure that she specified a Hunter Douglas ceiling.
“We needed to have several access panels on the client side, something that we are always try to hide as much as possible,” she explained. “In the Hunter Douglas products, we found a very good opportunity to match the aesthetic aspects that we were looking for with the functionality of the accessible requirements. Hunter Douglas always offers the best and most innovative products in the market, and provides exceptional quality.”
Hunter Douglas manufactured and supplied 150m2 of its multi panel ceiling, with multiple widths and depths – the first time that the company has created such a ceiling in the UK.
The multi panel ceiling system comprises box-shaped panels in two different widths and lengths of between 1500mm and 4000mm. Manufactured from lightweight, yet strong aluminium, the ceiling included plain and perforated panels of 80b and 180b, and the 20mm joint was filled with a V-shaped joint profile.
The biggest challenge was to integrate a flush light fitting that was capable of supplying sufficient level of light required in the customer area.
“The ceiling contractor, Level Best Solutions, did an excellent job hanging the lights from the slab and levelling them perfectly to the level of the ceiling,” said Alicia, who has previously worked with Hunter Douglas on the refurbishment of a Citadines Hotel in Barcelona. “We also fitted an end cap to close off the open ends of the panel profiles.”
In keeping with the modern and fresh style, the ceiling panels were coated in RAL white. Hunter Douglas ceiling panels are so durable because the coating features a two-layered polyester finish in a nominal thickness of 20 microns and they are stove enamelled in a continuous coil-coating process, which ensures uniform coating thickness and total adhesion.
The quality of the panels makes them among the market leaders for linear ceiling systems because each is rollformed from 0.35 mm (30B), 0.5 mm (30BD/ 30BXD/ 80B/ 30B) or 0.6 mm (80BXD/130BXD/180B) thick pre-painted aluminium strip. Alternatively, specifiers can select alloy HD5050 or equivalent, according to EN 1396, and ECCA standards.
Juliette Halliday, National Sales Manager at Hunter Douglas, said it worked closely with the interior designer to ensure the look and feel of the ceiling at the Bank of East Asia provided just the aesthetic appeal that Aedas was looking for.
“The demountable metal multi panel ceiling is able to provide easy access to the ceiling void where the services and equipment are installed, so allowing simple access for maintenance works,” she added.
When Dr David K.P. Li, chairman and chief executive of BEA, attended the official opening of the remodelled London branch, he said it “confirms the importance of the UK to our global strategy”.