If it wasn’t for column casings and interior wall cladding solutions, building interiors would be considerably less attractive environments. Yet, as they are designed to integrate as part of the fabric of a building, their importance can often be overlooked or taken for granted by the building’s occupants.
Very few people stand back to admire a laminated plywood column casing at a school or brushed stainless steel wall cladding in a prestige office building, yet they are key elements in interior design and integral to the aesthetics of countless building environments.
For column casings, at least, their role has been transformed from being a purely functional device for concealing structural steelwork to one of visual and decorative importance. From their initial use by a relatively small number of architects in the mid 1980s, column casings are now commonplace, with their aesthetic values and appeal being a key consideration alongside size and material during the specification process.
The demand for wider choice and increased aesthetics from architects, interior designers and specifiers have been key influences on Peterborough based casing and interior cladding company, Encasement, whose range has continually expanded and diversified during the past ten years to become the most comprehensive available in the UK.
Alongside the company’s six individual ranges of column casings, its ‘Vecta’ system provides a high quality solution for interior wall linings, bulkheads and reveals. Launched just a few years ago, the system has been widely used in retail, education and commercial buildings, such as Tesco, South Bank University and Prêt a Manger, as well as prestigious office developments, including Wellington House and the Carmine building in Paddington, London.
While Vecta has already gathered significant momentum, it is for column casings that Encasement is perhaps best known. The company’s extensive range not only includes pre-formed plywood and glass reinforced gypsum (GRG), as well as a specialised fire resistant solution for use with mezzanine floors, but also aluminium, stainless steel and glass reinforced polymer (GRP) casings for exterior projects due to their inherent weather resistance.
Interestingly, Encasement’s ‘Forma’ metal casings and ‘Polyma’ GRP range are also widely used in interior applications, where the selection of finishes available, particularly in the Forma range, provides specifiers with an even greater scope of options and can be specified with diameters from 250mm up to 1000mm or as square, rectangular or even hexagonal forms.
Recent projects, such as Winchester College, Middlesex Northwick Park Hospital. University College London, the extensive Debenhams development at Cheshire Oaks and the restaurant area of the Mondrian Hotel perfectly illustrate the versatility of Forma column casing solutions.
At Winchester College, the casings are circular, at Debenhams, they are square and accommodate LCD display screens, while at The Mondrian Hotel, they are hexagonal and incorporate a perforated skin lined with acoustic foam to reduce noise and reverberation from the restaurant.
Alongside Forma, Encasement’s ‘Circa’ and ‘Quadra’ pre-formed plywood column casings ranges were the first to be launched by the company and are still arguably the most popular, as they provide specifiers and contractors with an unrivalled selection of finishes, which includes plain, laminated or real wood veneers.
In addition, as Encasement is the UK’s only supplier and manufacturer of pre-formed plywood pipe boxing and decorative casing products that holds an FSC® ‘Chain of Custody Certification’ from the Forest Stewardship Council, both Circa and Quadra are manufactured from FSC® certified plywood. This makes them automatically compliant with sustainability codes and environmental procurement policies.
Designed solely for interior decorative applications, Circa and Quadra casings are used in an extremely diverse range of projects, which underlines their versatility, ease of specification and the immense range of decorative finishes available to complement or contrast with a building’s interior design scheme.
While Circa is available from Encasement as a plain casings for on site painting and decoration, by far the most popular casings are those finished with decorative laminates, which not only resist damage, scuffs and scratches, but also provides the specifier with a diverse palette of finishes from plain colours, wood grain and metallic, as well as textured and real wood veneers, to name but a few.
Circa and Quadra are used in almost every building type from education, retail, hotel, sports and leisure, as well as the health sector and commercial office buildings. As a result the choice of sizes available is also wide, allowing specifiers to choose not only circular and square, but also extended circles and rectangular profiles, which use additional infill panels to give greater flexibility while ensuring they are still easy to install.
Recent Quadra projects include Farnborough’s 6th Form Centre and the Dame Kelly Holmes Sports Centre, while among the many Circa installations, Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal, Liverpool University and Gateshead International Stadium are major installations.
Encasement’s Managing Director, Martin Taylor, commented:
“Column casing provide a perfect mix of practicality and aesthetics and we’ve taken a lot of care to ensure our range meets both of these key criteria while ensuring that we always remain competitive and deliver high quality products. Our products are used in projects all across the UK in just about every sector of the construction industry and building type, often using different products from our range, which underlines the versatility of our casing solutions.”
“Our entire range has been configured to provide the widest possible choice as well as being easy to specify, which is why we offer next working day delivery as well as some very specialised solutions, such as the Metza range, which provides up to two hours fire protection for mezzanine floor columns.
“The Vecta interior cladding system enhances our building interiors offer and allows specifiers to source a range of specialised interior finish products from a single company with high levels of expertise and experience in this sector. We also have our own contracting arm, which enables us to offer a full supply and install service to support contractors.”
Encasement’s latest ‘column casing solutions’ e-brochure is available for download from the company’s website and covers every product in the range as well as providing details on materials, sizes and finishes available alongside an extensive technical information section. Further information is also available from their website at www.encasement.co.uk or by calling 01733 266889.