Peter Scott, director at Tasmanian practice Xsquared Architects, shares with us his favourite products to specify at the moment. You can also read about what his standard day as an architect involves on his Profile piece, and explore the heating and insulation aspects of his Hopkins Street Affordable Housing project.
Words by Peter:
1. AWS ThermalHEART
A product that we looked to use on the Hopkins Street Affordable Housing project, and have used to good advantage on a range of other projects, is the AWS ThermalHEART range of door and window frames.
We like the fact that they are available locally but backed up by a national organisation. They provide good insulative performance and take double glazed IGUs, whilst being dimensional stable and maintenance free.
We also like that there is a full range of door and window typologies available within the suite and that there is a domestic and commercial range, which gives us the opportunity to ‘chunk up’ the appearance of the frames if that is a look we are after.
From a design perspective, they can be constructed with a different colour inside and outside, which makes for a lot of fun.
2. Livos Ardvos Universal Wood Oil #266
We also like to use timber in our projects. It is a renewable product (or can be) and Australia, and particularly Tasmania where we are based, has an amazing diversity of fabulous timbers that can be used. Part of the trick to showing them off to full advantage however, is the use of appropriate finishing products.
Where we have used timbers such as Blackbutt, Tasmanian Oak or myrtle for both commercial and domestic internal floors (or indeed on feature walls), we particularly like using Livos Ardvos Universal Wood Oil #266. Properly applied, it really brings out the natural colours and features of the timber.
Livos also makes very comprehensive efforts to limit potential allergic or other reactions to its products. This oil contains food grade ingredients and the most harmless organic solvents and off-gasses its natural VOCs within a very short time frame, with no further off-gassing once the product is dry.
We admire this commitment, and this makes the product ideal for use on commercial projects where a fast turn-around is often very important, and the provision of a healthy workplace at completion even more so.
3. Ronel Jordaan’s felt pebble cushions
I also particularly like Ronel Jordaan’s hand-made, hand-dyed felt pebble cushions stuffed with 100 per cent pure wool available through Emily Ziz Style Studio in Sydney.
The cushions have such a lovely feel and density. If you want a warm and fuzzy feel, they are produced in an environmentally friendly way and by local communities in a non-exploitative way. They come in a wide range of colours but I find the rock-like ones work the best for me, usually in a group of two or three or more, and in a range of sizes to give an informal feel, say in an office break out space or a domestic interior.
4. Bridge fitting by Dark out of Belgium
Another product that I really like for interior work is the Bridge light fitting by Dark out of Belgium.
The Bridge fitting is designed by Georges Seris, and although it comes in a variety of sizes (one or two lamps) and finishes, I have used the two lamp fitting with dark Perspex ‘mokka’ panels most frequently, and hung the fittings on long flexes so that they sit low over coffee tables, side tables and bars.
The coffee colour of the Perspex really compliments moody atmospheric interiors, and the localised lighting they give off provides a lovely diversity of light in such a space.
5. DuPont’s Corian
If I had to pick one of the most versatile products on the market at the moment I would have to pick DuPont’s Corian. Originally mostly used for kitchen benches and the like, we at Xsquared Architects have taken to using it as a sculptural object – using software in our office to model it as a 3D object and then providing cutting patterns to fabricators to model it out of solid or hollow assemblies.
In this way, we have created seamless fit-outs for public toilets, cafes and bars that incorporate curves, angles and returns, as well as multiple colours within single pieces. We have also been able to incorporate in-sink hand driers and soap dispensers into the material by modelling and moulding recesses into which these can be inserted.