Dynamic shopping breaks with furniture made of solid surface material
With the Abdali Mall, a spectacular shopping centre in the new district of Amman, the capital of Jordan, opened in 2016. With five floors and a gross floor area of approximately 73,000 square metres, it combines countless shops, several indoor and outdoor restaurants and recreational facilities. The interior of the mall is attractive to visitors because of its dynamic architectural contours: individual levels meander like overhanging balconies around a number of atria and light shafts, waterfalls plunge several stories into the depths and an abundance of natural light flows into the interior through an imposing arched glass dome. To match the flowing architectural design Rosskopf + Partner fabricated extremely unusual three-dimensional lounge and media furniture in addition to various directional signposts and information displays made of Avonite® solid surface material in the colour "Polaris".
Two three-dimensional "seating snakes" invite shoppers for a break. The seating furnitures measure 17 metres and are made of bright wide solid surface material Avonite®. They consist of 28 different solid surface material components supported by a 95-piece chip-frame sub-construction made of multiplex panels.
First, the thin material sheets, only 12 mm in thickness, were accurately cut to size by means of CNC technology and then thermo-formed in a vacuum press at approximately 165°C using specially prepared bending moulds into the desired shape. "Interacting with the very narrow radii and a relatively narrow body was especially challenging – particularly at the apex of the snakes," explained Stephan Scholz, project manager at Rosskopf + Partner. "In order to make everything look as if it were made from a single cast, the individual solid surface material parts had to be assembled to the millimetre, glued and then smoothed."
Circular LED light bands in specially designed channels illuminate the three-meter high seat coils placing them effectively into the overall ambience. On each end, three tablets are installed that allow visitors to display the floor plan and access information about the mall.
In addition, Rosskopf + Partner produced furniture made of solid surface material for a total of five seating and media islands, each consisting of a seating snake and arranged in a semi-circle around a 2.70 metre high information column. An additional three tablets are installed on a peripheral base. The ensemble is supplemented by a standing console with a pull-out seating module. Several LED spots are integrated into the funnel-shaped heads of the seating snake and then covered with thinner solid surface material. Due to its translucent properties, the material can be effectively backlit.
It’s not only the visual appearance of the solid surface material furniture that makes a good impression. The smooth, pore-free surface is extremely hygienic and very easy to clean. Dust and dirt can be easily removed, and small scratches and signs of wear can be polished away easily. It is ideal for use in shop fitting, because full shopping bags, road dirt, fast food stains and lively children's feet require the furniture here to endure a lot of wear and tear. Furthermore, the solid surface material can withstand adverse weather conditions, so that the seating can also be installed worry free in exterior areas.
For the elevators in the shopping centre, Rosskopf + Partner also produced 12 display columns with integrated call buttons: depending on the floor, the backlit signposts display different colours, which also match the LED light strips in the base of the display. On the ceilings and walls of the mall, signs made with solid surface material point the way to emergency exits or sanitary facilities and the balustrades are fitted with spherical no-smoking signs. Rosskopf + Partner milled the various icons and then either backlit or lacquered them.
The concept of the entire directional aids came from the internationally active architectural and design office, Gensler. The team was also contracted with the development of the brand identity of the mall. Since hospitality is a central part of the Jordanian culture, the architecture, design and service of Abdali Mall was to be designed as extremely user-friendly. "This also included an intuitive, dynamic and modern signpost concept", explained architect, Wesley Meyer. "Implementing our ideas in terms of both technology and craftsmanship was a challenge. But, with Rosskopf + Partner, we had professionals at our side."
As a first step, Rosskopf + Partner performed a detailed feasibility study on Gensler's designs. During that step, they examined exactly how best to realize Gensler’s ideas using solid surface material. After a detailed project calculation, the joint fine-tuning of the designs began using prototypes. At the Rosskopf + Partner Hennersdorf and Obermehler facilities in Germany, the project team of experienced engineers and craftsmen then produced the entire series of the extraordinary furniture using solid surface material.
Design: Gensler Architects
Material: Solid Surface Material Avonite®
Colour: Avonite® Polaris
Location: Amman, Jordan
Photography: Wesley Meyer, Abdali Mall Company, Rosskopf + Parter