When budgets are tight, you need to do all you can to minimise your product development risks. This was certainly at the top of BCA's agenda as they contemplated their new project to revitalise the Cotton Exchange in Liverpool.
The courtyard garden in the centre of the new development was a vital part of its regeneration. The design for the garden was inspired by the building’s original nineteenth century architect, J K Colling. The scrolling and spiralling contemporary forms pay homage to his passion for flowers expressed in the ironwork of the courtyard.
These forms led to creation of a design concept of three large spiral seating units in the centre of the courtyard that could be lit, making the space even more dramatic at night.
Andy Thomson, BCA Landscapes comments, “We have always been very aware of the great heritage that we were working with here and hopefully we have shown that with care and attention to detail new and old can exist together in harmony.”
In order to make their cutting edge design for the courtyard a reality, BCA Landscapes enlisted the service of specialist designers and manufacturers from across Europe. Crucible were proud to be invited to project manage the industrial design, construction and installation of the spiral seating units. This total involvement in all aspects of the project enabled Crucible to minimise the technical and scheduling risks for BCA, which was exactly what was needed.
Crucible’s involvement in the project eventually included the development of BCA’s inspiration into a practical design, integrating the lights into the units, demonstrating that the design worked, overseeing the manufacture, and managing the delivery and installation of the three units.
The lighting system was particularly innovative, involving LED rope lights fixed to the underside of the modular glass fibre seats, providing a dramatic effect after dark. The product design team also arranged the construction of the glass fibre seats and spun aluminium legs, ordered all the fixings and installation tools, and even installed the seats. By being involved at every stage of the design and production, Crucible were able to manage the construction and delivery of the parts so that deadlines could be met and technical problems resolved.
The ‘Garden of Light’ was designed, built and installed on time and to budget. The project won two prestigious design awards at the 2006 National Roses Design Awards held in Manchester. The courtyard garden won ‘Best Place Making’ and ‘Best Low Cost Project’ at the awards ceremony.
Andy Thomson, BCA Landscapes, comments, “Having come up with the concept for the garden, Crucible’s design expertise helped us make our vision a reality. They were one of the only companies we contacted who were up for the challenge of developing a bespoke and original design for the seats. Mike Ayre was always helpful and we worked closely together through-out the creative journey. Their ability to push the practical boundaries of the project made sure that the end result was not only incredibly striking, but easy to manufacture and install.”
Perhaps the final word should be left to Peter O’Donnell, the overall project manager:
"Crucible were great to work with on this project. They provided a superb service and a first class result"
Read more about this project in our portfolio section.