Leading tile supplier, Solus Ceramics helped engineer the design of the state-of-the-art manufacturing research facility, Factory 2050 with the installation of bespoke cut tiles from three striking tile ranges.
Factory 2050 is the future of the UK’s engineering industry, as the first reconfigurable assembly and component manufacturing facility for collaborative research in the UK, capable of rapidly switching production between high-value components and one-off parts.
Bond Bryan Architects designed the innovative the 6,700 square metre, revolutionary glass-walled, circular factory, at the heart of the University of Sheffield’s new advanced manufacturing campus on Sheffield Business Park.
Challenging the stereotypical, rectilinear architectural solution to industrial buildings, the striking design of the steel-framed circular glass building was designed to act as an international example for automated production facilities for the 21st century. The circular form was selected to enable an almost infinite production sequence to enhance rapid manufacturing techniques and expose the manufacturing activity within, to the outside.
With the client wanting to create a light and refreshing finish with statement accents, large format (1500 x 700mm) tiles from Solus Ceramics’ Replicate range were installed in the central rotunda, breakout spaces and perimeter circular walkways, in two contrasting shades to give a subtle yet striking effect. In addition Solus Ceramics also supplied tiles from its Stonework and Modular ranges to the bathroom facilities throughout the building.
Jon Rigby, Associate at Bond Bryan Architects, said of the project: “A key requirement of the client’s brief was to create a true open-plan, well-lit and highly connected working environment and to challenge the literal and symbolic separation that typically occurs between office and production areas.
“We selected the Replicate range from Solus Ceramics’ Essential Collection throughout the building to provide a contemporary, robust aesthetic, using the tones and textures of concrete to contrast visually against the industrial metallics used elsewhere within the building fabric. The large format tiles allowed us to visually complement the impressive, large-scale open plan workshop spaces, so that the floor did not become lost and trivial within the space.
“The tiles were cut using a waterjet technique, cut radially to follow the shape of the building, this process was undertaken in a factory using a cutting company in liaison with ourselves and Solus Ceramics. This process was necessary to ensure accuracy and consistency, and also to reduce site waste and installation time. The outcome is spectacular and the slight tonal difference selected from the range between the circulation and activity areas is fantastic.
“We specified Solus Ceramics because of the guaranteed level of quality we could expect, particularly in terms of the product range, choice and value, but also in the service provided. Both the client and ourselves are delighted with the outcome and effect the tiles give.”
David Overton, Business Development Manager at Solus Ceramics, said: “As a company, we’re always excited to work with people who push the boundaries and Bond Bryan Architects have done just this, with a refreshing approach to this development. Factory 2050 has been a fantastic project to work on with such a revolutionary design, setting itself apart from any other manufacturing facility in the country.
“The Replicate range is elegantly subtle, and gives stand out results when applied in such context like Factory 2050, the impact this tile choice has given to the finish of this facility is one of a kind.”