Regulations for commercial buildings generally impact on product choices more so than residential spaces, challenging designers to create an inviting space with a more limited product palette. The design challenge for Glassworks in Whanganui was creating a welcoming space that encourages customers to linger watching the glass artists, in a fully functioning industrial and commercial space.
Design principles for commercial spaces include a greater responsibility for safety and structural integrity, primarily because of greater numbers of people using the space. Opened in September 2016, Glassworks design included a heavy focus on safety around the glassblowing area and commercial grade safety barriers for the viewing areas, which overlook the basement studio.
On the upper mezzanine floor where the gallery is situated, a glass balustrade was fitted to create an intimacy between the glass artworks for sale and the artists at work, who can be clearly seen below through the glass panels. Manufactured and installed by HomePlus Whanganui, heavyweight (12-15mm) toughened glass panels were fitted in the Edgetec Commercial Post balustrade system, which has been designed specifically for commercial settings (Occupancy Types A, B, E, C, C1, C2, C3 and D), as per AS/NZ1170.1.2002.
Finished in a neutral Silver Pearl powder coat, the glass balustrade posts subtle finish blends seamlessly into the surrounds, helping to create an inviting gallery space that encourages the customer to stay a while longer and purchase the glass artworks for sale.