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PPG brings a colourful solution to Resorts World

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Shopping centres are at the heart of most major cities across the UK. As popular, high-traffic destinations, these buildings require regular upkeep in order to maintain a high-end finish. One such example is Resorts World in Birmingham, a modern shopping, dining and entertainment destination that attracts visitors from across the Midlands and beyond. When tasked with renovating Resorts World, architects and interiors practice Alexander Owen Architecture (AO) and painting contractor, Bagnalls, turned to PPG Architectural Coatings and its paint brand Johnstone’s Trade for its wide range of colour.

Resorts World is home to an assortment of shops, restaurants and entertainment establishments, including a cinema, hotel and even a casino. To top it all off, it’s also connected to the famous NEC and Resorts World Arena, which means it attracts guests who are visiting for exhibitions, shows and concerts. However, after years of the same look, the owners wanted to give the space a complete refresh.

London-based AO was approached to bring new life to the shopping and entertainment destination. After analysing the space, they decided on a large-scale art installation to transform the look of Resorts World. For the final finish, AO wanted to incorporate a subtle sheen to the surface to give the colour transitions fluidity, and with such high footfall at the centre, the chosen product would need to be hard wearing. Collaborating with Bagnalls, Johnstone’s Trade Eggshell from PPG was specified for this unique project.

A colourful approach

By bringing an architect onboard, Resorts World was able to gain a new perspective on the challenge at hand. As a starting point, AO began to closely study the shopping centre in order to gain inspiration for their design.

Discussing their approach, James Webster, co-founder of AO Architecture, said: “This was a brief with a lot of scope and an opportunity to make a real impact for Resorts World and their guests.

“With the atrium located at the heart of the building and being so architecturally dynamic, it was the obvious place to start considering potential interventions. After analysing the architecture in three dimensions as well as how people flowed up, down and across the space, we developed an architecturally-responsive visual art piece that celebrates the structure, form and organisation of the building, as well as the flow of people within it. In this sense it’s not simply art applied to the surface of the architecture, it’s art entirely driven by the architecture itself.”

The final design includes a series of dynamic forms in varying colours that draw visitors up and around the three-storey atrium, fluidly changing shape where escalators and structure intersect.

With such a large-scale design, it was important for painting contractor Bagnalls that the specified product would not only be easy to apply, to keep in line with timescales, but also be a financially viable option. Johnstone’s Trade Eggshell offered both these qualities. Its hardwearing formulation for interior wood and metal surfaces provides a smooth and even surface that is washable for a long-lasting finish, reducing maintenance requirements. Moreover, with a coverage of 20 sq m, the product goes a very long way – a key objective of this project.

Colour expertise at your fingertips

The design itself involved a range of over 20 vibrant colours, including neon highlights, which were digitally created by the architecture team. As Johnstone’s Trade Eggshell can be tinted to the wide selection of colours from the PPG Voice of Colour range, it was more than able to accommodate their vision. Working with the architects, PPG’s colour consultant team colour matched to the closest corresponding shades from the palette. These included pinks and purples, such as Kenny’s Kiss, Cleopatra’s Gown and Mystic Iris, as well as Electric Mint.

Richard Bridges, co-founder of AO Architecture, commented: “One of the key reasons we turned to PPG was because of the wide array of shades in the Voice of Colour range and their expert colour advisory department. The atrium itself was a tricky site in terms of colour performance due to it being flooded with natural light by day and the varying temperatures of artificial light by night. However, with the help of their senior technical consultants, we were able to discuss what we needed from each colour and have samples made up for each shade. 

“Having PPG’s colour consultant on site as part of the project team was a huge help, and meant that we were able to discuss how the colours behaved within the space and refine the final selection from both a creative and technical perspective.”

Burning the midnight oil

The project didn’t come without its challenges as, with guests present throughout the day and evening, access times posed an issue. The Bagnalls team worked through the night to navigate these issues and meet the tight deadlines.

Katie Booth, Contracts Manager at Bagnalls, said: “We’ve worked with Resorts World for many years, but this was by far the most challenging work we have undertaken for the company. Due to the intricacy of the design, we had to work closely with the architecture team as they lasered each section onto the wall, while we taped up the outline. With a lot of hard work from the team and the ease of application from Johnstone’s Trade Eggshell, we managed to finish the job ahead of schedule, completing the project in just three weeks.”

Commenting on the completed works, Mark Hopkins, Senior Maintenance Manager at Resorts World, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the overall result. It’s so bold and we’re especially impressed with the high-quality finish. The newly designed atrium has made such an impact on the overall aesthetic of the building and is a true representation of our identity. It’s become a real talking point for all our customers and something that they have come to associate with Resorts World.”

AO Architecture and Bagnalls have since won the Retail category at this year’s Painter of the Year Awards, hosted by Johnstone’s Trade. For more information on the full range of Johnstone’s Trade products, visit: https://www.johnstonestrade.com/.

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