In 2016, Mazda Australia officially opened its impressive new headquarters at Mulgrave in Melbourne’s south eastern suburbs. Having been at its previous site (also in Mulgrave) since 2001 – and having increased sales significantly in those intervening years – the move represented an upgrade.
Apart from the requisite office space, the new facility also includes a large showroom in which some of the auto maker’s most prized possessions – a collection of signature vehicles, including classic NA and NB MX-5s, RX-7s and a vintage Capella – are displayed.
The move received much publicity at the time and appeared to be a great success. However, some time later, in 2019, a problem emerged at the new headquarters.
Pino Alessi, Managing Director of Alessi Design Group, a blind retailer and on-seller of Verosol products, takes up the story: “Mazda approached us to say they had major heat issues and glare issues in their showroom,” he explained. “The floor to ceiling windows that constitute the showroom’s entire façade were simply generating too much heat.”
Eager to put his best foot forward, Alessi offered three possible solutions. “We gave Mazda a choice between a metalised screen fabric, a plain screen fabric, and a blockout fabric. The first two options received a thumbs down. The blockout fabric didn't work because it darkened the space altogether, while the standard screen delivered heat reduction of only 30 - 35%,” he said.
This left the metalised option, or more specifically roller blinds featuring Verosol’s 205 SilverScreen Performance fabric, as the only possibility. A quick test of the product generated immediate optimism.
“We set the two screen fabrics side by side. When the decision makers from Mazda tried the SilverScreen blind, they were amazed by the difference between standing behind it and the regular screen. It was that clear.”
To quantify that difference, the blind carrying the SilverScreen 205 provides heat and glare reduction of 70 - 75%. Comparing this with the 30 -35% of the alternative material, there really was no contest.
Automation and optimisation
From that point, the only decision left involved a choice between manual or automated blinds. Upon hearing from those assembled that the heat and glare problems were at their worst in the mornings, during those first four or five hours of business, Alessi recommended motorised and automated blinds for Mazda Australia’s facility.
“I suggested a fully automated Somfy system with timer, which allows the blinds to be either controlled in groups of three or linked together and operated as a group. In this way, the blinds are optimised and able to operate as effectively as possible,” he said.
Today, roller blinds featuring Verosol’s 205 SilverScreen Performance fabric cover all forward-facing windows at Mazda Australia’s Mulgrave showroom. Each a full 4.2m in length and featuring black on one side and metallised finish that takes on a soft grey appearance on the other, they are an attractive addition to the building.
Keeping temperatures mild, while allowing unobstructed views to the building’s exterior, they have done exactly what they were intended to do. They have solved Mazda Australia’s heat and glare problems and helped the company display its classic vehicles in the best possible light.