St Martin’s Courtyard, Covent Garden
St Martin’s Courtyard was created as a mixed-use retail, dining and lifestyle destination in the heart of London’s Covent Garden district. Every year, millions of people enjoy its many attractions, including shopping, theatres, restaurants, bars, history and culture. St Martin’s Courtyard is one of the several pedestrianized areas of the popular neighbourhood.
After a competition, Brimelow McSweeney Architects was commissioned to further develop the concept of the courtyard with a complete refurbishment. The architects’ proposal sought to create a large attractive terrace to the restaurants, unique entrance features and facades to entice passers-by into the courtyard.
A major contribution to the revamping of the pedestrianised area comes from the use of Corian® Exteriors, a solution based on Corian® Solid Surface which is widely used around the world for innovative and eye-catching architectural projects.
Three different pathways lead into St Martin’s Courtyard with its open-air restaurant dining, bars and shops. Brimelow McSweeney Architects used a range of different materials, patterns and lighting solutions for each entrance feature, fitting out a full immersion into a visually entertaining experience while leaving all city noises behind.
The approach to the courtyard design sought to enhance the outdoor living creating an inner city garden atmosphere for people to sit and relax while attracting other visitors as the installations are visible from the street.
The terrace was designed as a feature reminiscing of Mediterranean architecture, a series of classical arches supported by columns create an elegant arcade in the centre of the courtyard. The entire arcade was clad with Corian® Exteriors in a marble-like textured colour. The unique thermoforming properties of the material allowed for the curved shapes of arches and vault, with seamless joints between the glued panels. Corian® Exteriors was also used for the façade of the terrace over the ground and first floor with a pattern mirroring the arches, giving the entire facade visual continuity. LED lighting fixtures were integrated into the Corian® cladding, providing an attractive and unusual illumination to St Martin’s Courtyard especially at night.
The cube above the terrace has also been clad with Corian® Exteriors. Brimelow McSweeney Architects created a decorative façade with a small geometric pattern cut into the material, displaying a stunning effect of light and shadows, further emphasized when backlit.
“We were able to achieve the monolithic look we wanted for our large-scale design thanks to the versatility of Corian® Exteriors. Its thermoforming properties and the inconspicuous seams allowed us to create the arches, the columns and the decorative wall cladding exactly as we had designed them. The support of Corian® Exteriors specialists in the UK and the great skills and know-how of Dolphin company in the fabrication of Corian® Solid Surface were extremely helpful for the completion of our project.” explained Sheila Eilenberg, Director of Brimelow McSweeney Architects.
The fabrication of Corian® Solid Surface for the exterior cladding panels used in the project has been done by Dolphin Solutions Ltd company (www.dolphinsolutions.co.uk).
For the design of facades, Corian® Exteriors is a reliable solution that offers limitless creative possibilities to architects and designers. Besides its renowned aesthetical properties that last for years, it withstands wear, UV rays and freeze-thaw cycles while being also very easy to clean or repair in case of damage.
Corian® Solid Surface is the first and only solid surface in the world to be CE-marked for Exterior Cladding. The Corian® Design business has completed in early 2020 a European Technical Assessment (ETA) certification process concerning Corian® Solid Surface in collaboration with Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik (DIBT). This certification means that customers can count on a durable exterior cladding system that will maintain the original high performance for many years.