Cemintel® Barestone cement panel cladding was specified for an interior project at the Parramatta office of the Independent Education Union (IEU) designed by Crawford Architects.

According to architect Paul Godsell who was responsible for the office refurbishment, they had previously worked on the same client’s head office interior project. While the head office was situated in a 110-year-old building, which had a lot of character, with exposed timber, brick and timber columns, the second office was in the middle of a drab commercial building.

The design team decided to create a connection between the two offices by bringing in some of the architectural language from the headquarters into the second office. The client also sought a product that reflected the robustness and longevity that people expected from a union.

Looking for something that had the appearance of stone or concrete, Crawford Architects selected Cemintel Barestone cement panel cladding - usually used on outdoor facades - to create a unique look for the IEU. Barestone cladding consists of highly durable, prefinished 9mm compressed panels with a raw cement appearance.

Godsell explained that the cladding had a solid feel as well as a concrete finish that would allow them to place anything against it. The neutral colour of the cladding suited the overall interior effortlessly. The client loved the use of Cemintel Barestone cement panel cladding in the interior project as it gave the office a point of difference.

While the cladding has been used in several spaces across the IEU office, Crawford Architects took the design one step further in the boardroom by raising the ceiling height.

Since the client’s office was on the top floor of the building, they were able to rip out the existing grid ceiling and give them a lot of extra space. The boardroom ceiling is now four metres high, and really adds to the look achieved by the design team with the concrete panels, says Godsell.

He says working with an outdoor product on an indoor application can be slightly more complex, but the design outcomes make it all worthwhile. The high quality concrete finish was achieved using Barestone panels without having to do all the work with cement.

Godsell is keen to use Cemintel Barestone cement panel cladding in future projects. Listing the advantages, he said it was a solid product that came in big pieces, was waterproof, didn’t need any finishing and looked like it’ll be there for 100 years.

He was also impressed with the product’s simple components and construction techniques that ensured fast and easy assembly, and cut down on labour processes significantly.