On The Surface spoke to the team at Perth Plaster Mouldings about the incredible elliptical skylight created for Westfield Carousel Shopping Centre in Cannington, WA.

Led by Tom Pappas and Steve Koveski, Perth Plaster Mouldings is known for its high-quality workmanship and specialist restoration work. The company has walked away with trophies from a number of AWCI's Awards of Excellence, most recently taking out top honours in the Commercial Up To $500k category in last year's national awards for their work on the Westfield Carousel Shopping Centre.

Engaged to create an enormous elliptical skylight for Westfield Carousel, Perth Plaster Mouldings decided to build a full-size model for the first time ever.

"We would normally just make a section of a model and then repeat castings," Koveski explained.

"The full size of the ellipse was 15m long and 11.5m wide. To complete the job, we first had to find a workshop that would accommodate the size of the dome and allow us the space to work around it."

The team had to overcome a number of challenges to create the larger-than-life skylight.

"In preparing to complete the dome, the first task was to make the floor level, which we achieved by using plaster building blocks," Pappas said.

"The main challenge, and one of the most critical components of the job, was to make sure all three axis points looked perfect. This was extremely difficult as the dome was designed to be on a tilt.

"We achieved this by casting aluminium flat bar into the model at the required heights. This ensured that we would then have a flowing ellipse. This information then allowed us to screed the whole dome using these three points. Once all the screeding was completed, the dome was sealed and 38 moulds were taken from it. From the moulds we then cast the finished product."

Just as they did with all their other jobs, Pappas and Koveski utilised CSR casting plaster for the highest quality finish.

"This allows our cast to be lightweight while still maintaining high strength," Koveski explained.

"We also use CSR cornice cement to adhere our products to walls and ceilings, and CSR casting plaster for grouting.

"Rondo clips, top cross rail and PGI angle were used throughout all the casting and also used in the installation of the products. We use Rondo's suspension system as it's a reliable product and complies with Australian Standards."

Once the ellipse was moulded, the next hurdle was the transportation of the dome to site. This was achieved by transporting the casts in the moulds, which would prevent them from going out of shape; however, this meant they could only transport two moulds and two casts at one time.

The installation process was undertaken by Enzo Scarvaci from Finlay Group.

"Enzo's feedback was that this was one of the easiest pieces of plaster he has had to install," Pappas said.

"The reason for this was we had consulted Enzo throughout the whole manufacturing process, which meant he knew exactly how to set up his Rondo grid system, which attached onto the dome with the 6mm."

The manufacturing of the skylight was a huge project and represented an important milestone for the team at Perth Plaster Mouldings.

"We are very happy and proud of the finished product and would like to thank Finlay Group and Scentre Group for giving us the opportunity to manufacture a product so unique," Koveski concluded.