The leafy suburb of St Leonards on Sydney’s north shore has been undergoing an extensive renewal over the past few years. Well served by trains and public transport, it’s ideally situated just 15 minutes from the CBD, over the iconic Harbour Bridge. Right across the suburb, new multi-residential and commercial construction has breathed new life into public spaces and rejuvenated the area as a whole.

The main attraction in St Leonards’ urban transformation is Eighty Eight. Housing approximately 650 units and 30,000sqm of commercial and retail space, this stunning development by JQZ places residents front and centre to transport, leisure and absolute luxury. The upper-floor apartments take in stunning views of Sydney harbour and skyline, while at ground level is a bustling, vibrant retail and dining precinct including supermarkets and a public library.

The architectural vision for the project was to create a contemporary, yet classic feel to the public space of the precinct. This meant plenty of concrete along with metallic and wooden accents where structural elements such as poles or escalators were located. In order to complete the design, the ideal soffit and ceiling cladding needed to be sourced.

ALUMATE’s range of aluminium cladding products is versatile, non-combustible and fully compliant. It’s also available in a vast range of bespoke finishes to complement the design vision of any project, which made it an ideal choice for the Eighty Eight. This particular undertaking required the team to go one step further, and design tailored solutions across multiple applications that would meet the building’s distinct visual identity, while still offering high performance and a straightforward installation process.

The first application was soffit cladding for the retail/commercial space at ground level. ALUMATE conducted a rigorous discovery process with the architect and developer to ensure the solution they created would align perfectly with the design intent for the space. The aluminium panel cladding that was settled upon was first manufactured and tested for quality, before being finished in line with the overall aesthetic of the project, and ALUMATE devised an exclusive natural timber look finish that would further amplify the vibrance of the precinct.

The panels were designed to be joined seamlessly together, creating the look of exceptionally long and luxurious timber boards across the soffit. This meant fitting a tessellating combination of large and unique panels in various locations in order to achieve the desired look.

The second application involved designing and manufacturing customised aluminium ceiling cladding in the form of cubes within the precinct. The team successfully addressed the significant complexity of this project, as the cubes needed to vary in dimensions in certain areas, allow for service access in other sections, and accommodate additional fixtures such as speakers or lights in specific locations. Knowing that a one-design-fits-all approach would not work, the team designed bespoke shapes and sizes for the different sections, and completed them with a stylish-yet-muted combination of coloured and metallic finishes, alternating from matte blacks to brushed golds.

When it came to installation, the expertise of ALUMATE’s knowledgeable teams shone through. In an installation as complex as this, involving multiple different shapes and configurations, having an experienced workforce to get the job done with minimal fuss is essential. ALUMATE’s fabrication, logistics and design teams expertly collaborated with the onsite contractors to ensure this complex installation was completed with precision and ease.

In addition, ALUMATE aluminium cladding products are meticulously tested to the highest quality for full functionality across a wide range of applications. Suitable for indoors, outdoors, horizontal or vertical, and available in a range of prefabricated lengths and profiles, they’re a highly versatile and durable option - particularly for highly trafficked public space projects such as this.

ALUMATE products are certified non-combustible to AS1530.1, making them not only a high-performance cladding option, but an exceptionally safe one as well. The products are available in a range of realistic timber-look finishes; perfect for designers and specifiers who are seeking a timber finish without the material limitations of genuine wood. In addition to the exceptional safety and performance features of ALUMATE products, they are also able to provide a wide variety of powder-coated and anodised finishes. All cladding is easy to install with pre-slotted fixing points, and all sizes of cladding profile are able to interlock with each other.

In a marquee project such as Eighty Eight, it’s essential that all teams and products are able to collaborate and work in harmony to contribute to a successful shared outcome. The ALUMATE team worked closely with architects during the planning stages to design and manufacture customised cladding that would meet the stringent requirements for luxury appeal, balanced with robust functionality. During the construction phase, the team worked tirelessly on site to ensure a speedy, no-fuss installation that would keep the wider project on track. It’s this combination of exemplary product with dedicated human expertise that sets ALUMATE apart from the rest.