QIC have embarked on a centre-wide amenity upgrade at Westpoint Shopping Centre. The objectives were an aesthetic refresh, increased pan count, improved parent rooms with accessible features, and a strong focus on inclusivity with the addition of two Changing Places facilities. They also placed heavy emphasis on providing an enhanced user experience, which informed details of the design. QIC wanted to push the boundaries of the design to really create an amazing experience for their customers. The first 3 amenity blocks have been completed, with 7 more underway. The redesign started with a fundamental space planning exercise. Functionality and efficiency were critical requirements, so the layouts needed to be completely reworked. The resulting outcome increased overall pan count and created a more balanced male to female pan ratio across the centre. It also made space for larger, more accommodating parent’s rooms and added accessibility throughout. In addition to spatial changes, convenience was maximised where possible, including design features such as purse shelves, bag hooks, ‘all-in-one’ wash stations with concealed hand dryers, full-length mirrors and a beauty bar to enhance the experience for users. The parent’s rooms were a big focus for QIC, with a large amount of space dedicated to them.
The brief was to create something that hasn’t been done before. To realise it, boundaries had to be pushed with everything from form to function. Traditional ‘rooms’ were reimagined into cocoon-like structures that interacted with the surrounding design; walls were replaced with abstract tree trunks and hanging canopies to create divisions in space; custom light fittings mimicked bees and clouds in the sky – everything had to be bespoke. The functional elements within the design became features in themselves. Beyond the aesthetics, the space had to be exceptional in performance, convenience and accessibility to ensure a fully inclusive design was achieved. The parent’s rooms became a place of refuge; an inviting and comfortable environment for both parent and child to relax and re-energise. As there were no precedents for the design, every detail had to be carefully considered and workshopped to ensure the outcome looked exactly as it was designed. Physical models of the cocoons and trees were built to articulate intricate detailing to the client and builder; full scale prototypes of the custom designed bee light fittings were built; bespoke graphics were printed onto mosaic tiles; and numerous hours were spent sketching ideas to design every hook, waste bin and mirror.
Corian® was selected for its beautiful aesthetic quality, durable and malleable properties as well as its seamless finish. More so, amenities and parents room demand a high level of cleanliness. Corian® seamless, non-porous surface is ideal for these applications.
Amenities are often treated as spaces of necessity. Challenging that way of thinking, QIC committed to providing their customers with something more. As a result, the design team were able to push design boundaries and set benchmarks in the industry by proving the human experience can be enhanced in any space. Several design features were highly bespoke, requiring specialty detailing that had no precedent to follow. In order to better develop these items, scale models were created allowing a true understanding of how these features would be constructed. This level of bespoke design required a real team effort between the builder, joiners, services consultants, i2C and various stakeholders at QIC to bring the design to life. Corian® was used for its seamless, hygienic and durable properties on the custom wash planes and change benches. In the parent’s room, the surface was moulded to create a safe nook for nappy change. It was returned up the wall to provide an easily cleanable splashback. In the amenities, it was moulded to create a niche for hidden hand dryers, a seamless drop down for junior facilities and a removable panel at the trough to both conceal and allow access to drains. The solid surface was also used as a capping detail and microwave surround.
As Corian® was used throughout large expanses in the design, special detailing was required to provide additional support for the solid surface to be able to have a seamless look.
The bespoke design was made possible through the versatility of Corian®. The adaptability of the solid surface removed the need for additional fixtures and enabled a seamless design in all aspects of the project, from the custom wash planes and hand dryer niches to the moulded change benches.