In 2016 renovations were made to Sylvia Park shopping centre in Auckland, including an expansion of the mall to bring in international stores H&M and Zara, and an extension of the main food court to accommodate the growing number of visitors.
For the food court extension, Kiwi Property and architects The Buchan Group wanted to create an attractive feature wall that would tie in the geography and history of the mall. The Buchan Group decided to incorporate Maori motifs into the wall's design, as well as portraying the stream that used to flow across the Sylvia Park site prior to development. To bring the design concept to life, they required a robust and highly customisable wall material that could achieve a Group 1-S fire rating. They worked closely with Fodera Panelling Systems who provided a custom solution.
As part of the design process, local iwi Ngati Maru Runanga supplied kowhaiwhai (Maori scroll patterns) for the large 17m wall. To replicate the patterns of the sketches, Fodera manufactured custom cut wall panels which were then thermoformed with 3M Di-Noc to provide a Group 1-S finish. Flowing through the centre of the patterned panels is the stream, comprising polycarbonate back painted with Resene Half Smart Blue. For the lower 900mm of the walls, toughened glass was added to the design to provide a higher level of protection.
The panels were installed by Fodera on a split rail system — meaning that if any of the panels get damaged, they can be easily replaced. In addition to the main wall panels, the stream was extended against the adjacent plasterboard walls and windows, to create a continuous look. As a final touch, an opal lens with a continuous LED strip runs around the whole perimeter of the stream, lighting up the edges.
The end result — an eye-catching feature wall tailored closely to The Buchan Group's design, illustrates the flexibility of Fodera's Custom Panel range. "You can't simply buy panels like ours," explains Fodera Co-Director, Ian Mitchell. "Our thermoformed panels are custom-made. In fact, we don't have any pre-made sheets in stock as no two clients or projects are the same." The team at Fodera is happy to help designers develop creative solutions for their projects, no matter how challenging. "We prefer the difficult," Mitchell affirms, adding that the flexibility of the panels means the design possibilities are virtually endless.