The Zagame Automotive Group is renowned for its passion for exciting motoring as well as bringing prestigious international automotive and motorcycle brands to Australia. Based in Melbourne, Zagame recently added a brand new showroom located at 430 Swan St in inner-city Richmond to its established portfolio of dealerships.

The 9,500m² state-of-the-art building boasts two storeys of vehicle showroom, one level of offices and boardrooms, a café area, service and petrol facilities, an on-site car wash and parking.

As an innovative and versatile alternative to painted glass, Akril was installed as wall cladding and splashbacks in all bathrooms and was also installed in the kitchen and café areas.

Architect David Earle of Architects & Projects Co-Ordinators specified Akril for the project, and project manager Matthew Rieniets of L.U. Simon Builders sought only premium building materials and interior fixtures, fittings and furnishings.

According to David Earle, the colour scheme of the showroom was stipulated by Ferrari’s corporate head office, and the design of the building, including the bathrooms, was developed in consultation with Bobby Zagame, the owner of the business.

For both David and Matthew Rieniets, the Zagame project presented their first opportunity to work with Akril, which was recommended by interior designer Libby Thornton.

“I had heard of Akril but hadn’t used it before this job as there had been no project previously that had demanded such a sophistication of finish that Akril would give us,” David said. “Our client is particularly educated in all things design and was as impressed as we were with what the product had to offer. Akril is modern and contemporary, which suits the building down to the ground, and it is also good value for money and very easy to work with.”

With a wide range of up-to-the-minute colours and finishes available, David and Matthew were able to offer their client a variety of options. Akril in Dulux Lexicon White gloss was used for splashbacks in the bathrooms, kitchen and café areas, while two striking glossy hues were chosen for the bathroom feature walls – Bristol Conga Brown for the bathrooms on the ground and first floors and Red Ferrari Rosso for the mezzanine level amenities.

The Akril sheeting was installed by carpenters who had positive feedback about the workability of the product. “Our carpenters found Akril very easy to handle and commented on the fact that they could treat it just like MDF (medium-density fibreboard),” Matthew said.

“Akril is easily drilled and can be cut to fit on-site, which makes it a very flexible material, more so than glass which does not allow any room for error and can break easily. There are also long lead times associated with glass installation and also the need for specialized glaziers.

“Tile also has associated issues such as join problems or bits leftover at the end. The splashback in the café area is a great example of that. Here we were able to fix Akril in one length, which ensured a perfect fit and created a very nice finish. Installing Akril is a very straightforward process.”

The Akril sheeting was applied with silicone directly to plasterboard walls which were battened out with Masonite strips. The fixed Akril panels were then caulked with a corresponding silicone colour. Installation was extremely quick with the process taking about 1-2 weeks.

“The entire project was initially estimated to take 16-17 months, however thanks to excellent client relations and communication, as well as products like Akril speeding up the job, we were able to finish in 12 months,” Matthew said.

The showroom opened several months ago and feedback so far from visitors and customers has been encouraging.

According to David, the building team were delighted with the Akril panels and their client was also very happy with the result the Akril panels achieved.

“When the new showroom opened, the Zagame Automotive Group held a function here for 500 guests – 300 on the ground level and 200 on the first floor – and that ‘test run’ so to speak proved very successful, with all the furnishings and functions, including Akril, working perfectly,” David said. “If another project arises where a product like Akril is needed I would have no hesitation in specifying it again.”

Matthew agreed, saying he would recommend Akril to other clients if the project and particular application suited. “Akril was very cost effective and much easier to work with than coloured glass. It has the added benefit of being able to be buffed to remove minor scratches or blemishes and the ordering and delivery of the material itself was painless and punctual. Overall, we are very pleased with the result as is Zagame Automotive.”