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Architectural mesh sets the tone for lobby with floating staircase and ensures safety

UGI Utilities

The new headquarters of the energy supplier UGI Utilities in Denver, Pennsylvania, is a milestone in the company's history. The facility covering around 93,000 square meters is designed to house 350 employees. The recently completed office building provides a pleasant atmosphere, the best possible working conditions, and impresses with modern, cleverly designed interiors.

Architectural mesh combines design and function

The shimmering gold Omega 1520 mesh made of stainless steel lends the space a warm elegance. As the backdrop for the curved staircase, it follows the rotunda shape of the lobby and serves as both fall guard protection and a room divider. On the second floor, the open stairway is encircled with a balustrade featuring semitransparent mesh elements that also ensure safety.

The architects selected the semitransparent GKD architectural mesh because it unites robustness and an understated appearance – and because it subtly reflects the light, which gives the space a visual dynamism and warmth.

Mesh design masters static and architectural challenges

In order to comply with all the safety regulations, the two-story staircase required static reinforcement. The GKD project manager ensured that the frame structure of the large-format mesh backdrop was reduced to a minimum so as not to detract from the aesthetics of the mesh. The skeleton framework was then clad with the stainless steel mesh coated in Venetian gold.

The mesh surface traces the specified radius exactly and forms a homogeneous unity with the stairs with nothing to detract from it visually. This is ensured by the precisely planned mounting fixtures of the handrail – a true feat of precision engineering with minimal tolerances of 2-3 millimeters. GKD designed and planned the mesh construction in minute detail based on a computer-aided model. This ensured that the mounting fixtures for the mesh panels were in precisely the right positions. Thanks to the special fastening method with threaded parts, the fitters were able to finely adjust the panels on site in order to ensure smooth transitions with no creases or kinks. A flat stainless-steel rail and five intermediate fixings at half-height help to ensure that the mesh wall closely follows the specified radius.

High-class design statement

The Venetian gold of the architectural mesh shimmers in the light of the large sculptural chandelier and the cove lighting. It also complements and contrasts with the earthy stone and wood surfaces used throughout the rest of the interior. The result is a design statement that lends the otherwise traditional building architecture a touch of modern elegance.

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