ubbed The Gem for its faceted glass appearance, this Manchester-based project included a full redesign and refurbishment of the ground floor. The eclectic building in the heart of the city was converted into an independent café and lounge with co-working spaces, communal leisure spaces and private meeting rooms.
When working on the bespoke design and 3D modelling of the bespoke entrance design, IQ Projects chose to specify a steel façade system. The steel framework was chosen over aluminium in this case for its strength and ability to accommodate a complex design of this nature. The steel framework also allowed us to create smaller sections in comparison to aluminium, achieving the specific aesthetic required by the architects. Architects 3DReid set out to make the building the first Platinum standard WELL accredit workplace environment in the UK, with the design mimicking that of a high-end hotel.
The exterior design of the building featured a grand entrance, with a faceted glass structure that acts as a reflective surface and uses a mixture of glass, polished stainless steel and oak veneer that encourages natural light to flood the internal spaces. The bespoke oak veneered panels were designed and installed by Technowood. Due to this structure being completely bespoke, IQ undertook extensive research, design development and testing process’ to create the gem. The Schuco Jansen VISS SG system was specified to engineer the vertical support of the large structure, with specific shapes being cut and welded to achieve the specific shape.
The gaskets and screw in components within the steel structure acted as the base for the innovative build, accommodating the faceted shape. The Gem acts as a design feature for the multi-use commercial space, combining sculptural art with natural elements. Each of the individual panels within the diamond shape was 3D modelled prior to manufacturing, utilising precision engineering to create completely individual sizes for each piece. When it came to installing the glass façade, each piece was individually numbered and the installers put together the structure like a jigsaw.
Inside the building, the angular design is softened through the use of soft lighting, live plants and a collection of innovative artwork which was specifically commissioned for the project. The faceted exterior creates a dappled lighting effect, with the slim steel structure allowing tonnes of natural light to flood the spaces throughout the day. The calm and tranquil atmosphere throughout the interior design modernises the previously outdated building, making it a recognisable staple in the city centre.
The newly redesigned first floor is all set to become Platinum Standard WELL certified, an international building standard that recognises health in the built environment with a holistic approach. It will be one of the first coworking spaces in Europe to achieve this accreditation.
The glass entrance structure was brought to life by the talented team at IQ Projects, paying particular attention to the faceted glass detail and bespoke structure that demanded new glazing technologies be developed. Working on projects of this nature, it is important to take a flexible approach to glass design to bring specialised designs into reality.