Calia Collective’s Japanese-inspired restaurant-to-retail concept in the Chadstone Fashion District highlights fluid architectural design, alongside expert knowledge of materials and the building process.
Stretching across the restaurant’s walls and ceilings, the distinctive curved design feature – the vision of award-winning Australian architecture firm, March Studio – was initially conceived with the intention of using real timber dowel. However, real timber would have been difficult to bend to the required specifications, making executing the complex design too costly and impractical.
Covet’s Ever Art Wood, with its versatility, architectural features and premium timber looks, made the designer’s vision possible.
Curves are used in architecture to soften a building’s aesthetic impact but are often a practical challenge for builders and shopfitters. In practice, creating curves in architecture is often time-consuming and expensive depending on the materials selected. Some materials require a high degree of craftmanship to achieve consistent, accurate curves, especially if a tight radius is required. Different species of wood are more difficult to bend than others and require pre-softening. The thickness, grain and preparation of the wood also needs to be carefully considered to avoid selecting stock that is unsuitable for the intended application. Curves are usually non-standard for battens and panels, so bending them to the desired specification can add additional cost and lead to excessive wastage.
Ever Art Wood round hollow-section, aluminium battens, which can be bent easily and to a tight radius, provided a cost-effective and practical solution for achieving the unique curved design envisaged for Calia’s Chadstone space. Furthermore, this solution’s realistic woodgrain pattern and textures, indistinguishable from real wood based on visuals alone, enabled the designer to successfully deliver the desired real timber aesthetic. The result is an installation with a high degree of visual depth and warmth that would not have otherwise been achieved had other materials been selected.
Overcoming the Difficulty Curve
Calia’s Chadstone project utilised approximately 4km of 30mm diameter Ever Art Wood Koshi aluminium battens for its centerpiece feature. Koshi battens are made out of a lightweight, dimensionally accurate and fire-rated aluminium. The batten itself is a standard hollow section that replicates a plain timber batten with no special fixtures or fittings. Koshi battens were integrated into the restaurant’s curved design in three key ways. First, sections were bent to a radius of 1200 mm. Second, the battens were mounted on curved supports. Finally, the battens were cut to size and installed to create curves using the staggered lengths.
Covet’s timber look aluminium battens offer several advantages over real timber, including comparatively low maintenance requirements, with no oiling or surface treatment required. More importantly for this project, these battens are easier to manipulate than real timber to create dimensionally accurate and consistent curves. This flexibility was critical to delivering the seamless finish required for the installation.
As Anthony Scott, director of Covet, explains: “Our Koshi battens were proposed by the shopfitter – timber dowel was originally specified. It is rare for an installer to advocate for a more expensive product, however the advantages of using Ever Art Wood were clear. Our product was easier to bend and would deliver the consistent, clean lines that the designer wanted without warping, while presenting a realistic timber look finish.”
Down to Last Details
To maintain its visual appeal and the authentic timber look and feel, careful consideration of feature details added to the overall realism of the final design. “The battens were screw-fixed with screws directly through the batten faces which, in my opinion, makes it look even more ‘real’ as that is how you would install timber dowel,” Scott notes. “This was made into a feature detail by using counter sunk black screws.”
For this project, it was critical that the realism of the timber look was not diluted, so Covet developed a solution to finishing the Koshi batten end caps that was visually consistent with the centerpiece feature. Covet developed a round, custom vacuum-sealed batten end cap for the installation. Individual end caps were finished with the same Supuringu Oku colour and texture as the battens, and hand-trimmed and inspected in their Japanese manufacturer’s factory.
Covet’s comprehensive and flexible customer service was able to accommodate the project’s challenging lead times and specific requirements. Scott continues: “The project’s lead time was short, and we worked in providing a couple of shipments – one by air freight, one by sea – so the project could keep to schedule. We also used part of the air freight delivery to co-ordinate bending of the battens to meet the timeframe. This highlights the customer-focused, solution-driven service that we provide.”
Ever Art Wood®
Ever Art Wood® Koshi Hollow Section Battens
Performs well when tested to AS/NZ 1530.3 (spread of flame / index 0) and AS/NZ 3837-1998 (result / Group 1)
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Ground Floor Luxury Precinct
Chadstone Shopping Centre
Chadstone VIC 3148
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