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Stainless in Color

Stainless in Color

26 May 2016

A modern and innovative design using coloured and textured stainless steel has left an impressive statement on an Adelaide streetscape.

South Australia’s premier shopping district Rundle Mall underwent a full makeover from 2012-2014 as part of the Adelaide City Council’s initiative to revitalise the precinct.

Part of this redevelopment included a redesign of the facade of a commercial tower at 80 Grenfell Street, housing the Adelaide headquarters of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

Design practice HASSELL delivered an iridescent façade design using coloured stainless steel cladding, supplied by ASSDA Member Steel Color Australia. The extent of the façade referred to as ‘the ribbon’ cascades over 10 storeys, connecting the office tower to the lobby entrance via the retail parapet. The ribbon was made up of over 100 panels that twist and bend over the full height of the building, creating an artistic ripple effect.

HASSELL and Arup’s façade engineering team tested this unique design with physical and virtual models, further refining the design detailing with extensive prototyping. This collaboration with the assistance of Steel Color Australia’s product and material knowledge ensured this remarkable design element was feasible.

Stainless steel was specified for this design as its inherent properties allowed for the level of manipulation required to construct the architect’s creative expression, as well as provide a high quality and aesthetically pleasing finish.

Over 1500m2 of grade 304 stainless steel in 4000x1250x1.2mm sheet in a Rosso colour (Italian for red) was supplied by Steel Color Australia, as the sole distributor in Australia and New Zealand for embossed, coloured, mirror finished and textured stainless steel manufactured by Steel Color S.p.a in Italy.

Steel Colour Australia owner Vince Araullo said that electro-colouring (INCO system) is the main technology in Steel Color Australia’s production. ‘The stainless steel sheet’s surface was directly altered, chemically stimulating the natural passivation of the material. No painting was involved in the process, increasing the pitting resistance of the stainless steel.’

In terms of manipulating the steel’s shape, Araullo said that colouring is an intrinsic part of the stainless steel. ‘This means the stainless does not lose colour during shaping, as opposed to aluminium for example which would need to be coloured after folding due to the fragility of the coloured anodic coating.’

Steel Color Australia facilitated the overseas production of some 270 sheets, weighing 10 tonnes and their shipment to the project site. Modular framework was constructed to bend the stainless sheets into shape for easy installation on site by crane.

The visually striking building façade integrates impressively into the Rundle Place precinct, and the outcome has resulted in a virtually maintenance-free and colour enduring structure.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 56 (Winter 2016).

Images courtesy of Steel Color Australia.

Lissel Pilcher