Masterminds of the London Eye, David Marks and Julia Barfield were tasked with creating Brighton’s new landmark, British Airway’s i360. With a bird's-eye view into SAS International’s expertise, Marks Barfield Architects sought assistance to elevate the design to new heights.
The public areas at the base of the project originally specified mesh, but there were concerns over maintenance and safety. In addition, due to the complexity surrounding the engineering of another world first, budgets were under tight control. SAS proposed a solution offering the desired industrial aesthetic and ease of maintenance within budget.
SAS600 rafts and bespoke vertical bulkheads in grey PPC were specified along with a large perforation (S3920). This combination offered acoustic control in an exposed-soffit area, whilst meeting aesthetic, maintenance and perhaps most importantly, budget demands.
One non-negotiable design feature was a narrow shadow gap detail between vertical bulkhead and horizontal raft. This contemporary detail is repeated throughout the project, on door frames, windows and wall panelling successfully tying the interior together.
The design creates the illusion of a single ceiling system and integrates all services in keeping with the overall aesthetic. SAS manufactured bespoke tiles with apertures for lighting, sensors and grilles to produce this cohesive effect.
Achieving visually harmonious transitions between ceilings and other architectural features within the building presented further design challenges. SAS bespoke curved bulkheads concealed essential M&E services within the circular docking area, framing the central glass partitioning and doors. SAS600 rafts also provided a flexible system to accommodate temporary partitioning for the Beachfront Hospitality Rooms. The unsightly but necessary ductwork is subtly concealed within an aesthetically pleasing solution offering both maintenance access and acoustic control.
In addition to the public spaces, floating raft modules were installed in staff offices and executive meeting rooms. The systems progress the stark, industrial aesthetic and provide an acoustic solution for the multi functional spaces. Elsewhere, SAS205 (dark grey) was installed in the back of house corridors, integrating with plasterboard surrounds and strip edge lighting.
At 162m, i360 is the world’s tallest moving observation tower as well as the first and only vertical cable car. Brighton, once a Mecca to Mods up and down the UK has a new beacon to rival the famous pier.
Brighton West Pier Trust
Marks Barfield Architects
J T Mackley Group
County Ceilings Installations (Gatwick) Ltd