Architects MoreySmith of London completed an expansion to London's Commonwealth Club in early 2006 comprising a new members' area and conference suite. The brief was to extend the existing club at 18 Northumberland Avenue into the adjoining premises at 25 Northumberland Avenue. Central to the design brief was the client's desire to create a dynamic, multi-cultural Commonwealth Centre in the heart of London, within a limited budget.
One of the contemporary design features that Members see when they enter the lobby of the new premises is a deep purple, curved laminated glass box, which acts as a backdrop to the main reception, made using DuPont SentryGlas Expressions technology from Digiglass.
As a new, double-height reception space was created by the architects by removing the slab at first floor level at 25 Northumberland Avenue, the curved purple glass box rises through the space backing both the reception desk and the first floor mezzanine area.
According to MoreySmith, they had limited physical space to work with, for, the 7 m- (23 ft-) high purple box is a useful design device for visually linking the space between the lobby and the mezzanine. It provides a continuous backdrop and has an interesting gradient colour moving from dark purple on the right to lighter purple at the centre.
The brief for the extension was to create a contemporary space with reference to the original club and to the new Commonwealth colours, but also introducing some softer colours for relaxed members' lounge and new conference spaces. This is achieved by the use of plumy, warm tones in the upholstery of the furnishings, along with dark timbers and bespoke lighting, as well as the contemporary glass box made of SentryGlas Expressions at the reception.
Fusion Glass Designs of London supplied the SentryGlas Expressions decorative laminated glass for the purple box. SentryGlas Expressions technology was useful in its ability to achieve a graded colour change across the width of the box's frontal panel.
The architects were specific regarding the gradient colour tones they wanted for the glass box. To achieve such accurate and high quality reproduction would have been difficult in using alternative decorative glass techniques.
Each side of the light box consists of five panels, approximately 1.2 m- (3.9 ft.) wide x 3 m- (9.8 ft) high, curved to a slight radius. The SentryGlas Expressions decorative laminated glass was made up of two layers of 6 mm (0.24 in) float glass plus the Butacite PVB interlayer on which the pattern was printed, a total of 14 mm (0.55 in).
When received the digital image of the design from the architects, it was a quick and easy process to transfer the image on the
PVB interlayer using SentryGlas Expressions technology, resulting in good quality and accurate image reproduction.
According to Royal Commonwealth Society, the extension project has been highly successful and the design successfully conveys contemporary Commonwealth values - modern, multicultural, internationalist and dynamic.