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A new twist on stainless design

With a striking and innovative design evoking visions of the Singapore based Helix Bridge, stainless steel has formed an integral part in creating one of Sydney’s most exciting new structures.

Commissioned by Landcom as part of the Lachlan Line Precinct development project in North West Sydney’s Macquarie Park, the yet to be officially named cyclist bridge provides visual flair, safe accessibility, and excitement to the area. In an area with typically heavy traffic congestion, the project’s promotion of reduced car dependency creates a significant positive impact to the surrounding environment.

The design is the first of its kind in Australia, utilising a double helix arrangement with a varying diameter along its curving 178m length. While the design elements certainly lend themselves well to aesthetics, structural requirements dictated much of the overall shape. A steel truss arrangement is used, required for the long sections spanning the multiple roads below its footprint. The diameter of the spiral increases at the bridge supports and tapers along its span.  At its narrowest, it is 5.5m in diameter, and 7.8m at its widest.

Approximately 170t of 2205 grade duplex stainless steel was used, along with around 220t of structural mild steel. Due to the large quantity of material required, multiple distributors supplied material mostly on an indent basis, with some delivered ex-stock. ASSDA Members Midway Metals, Stirlings Performance Steels and Vulcan Stainless all supplied material, with the majority of plate (up to 80mm in thickness) produced by ASSDA Member Outokumpu, managed through their Melbourne office. 

A minimum 100-year service life with minimal maintenance (becoming increasingly common in the design of bridges) was a key criterion, particularly important for the hard to access structural components. From the beginning, 2205 duplex grade presented as an ideal material, thanks to its hybridised microstructural properties granting it superior mechanical properties to many forms of mild and stainless steel. 

Put simply, being stronger allows for thinner sections to be used or, alternatively, more scope for efficient design such as larger spanning or increased resistance to bending moments. Mild steel was retained  for the helical outer structure, and painted blue, which was a central design requirement. 

Arup proposed duplex stainless steel for the deck structure and wearing surface within the helix due its increased strength to weight  properties whilst maintaining high durability performance.   

Outokumpu played an instrumental role in advocating the use of the material properties of duplex grade at the early design and concept stages. Backed up by global materials experts and with a wealth of expertise in supplying stainless materials for bridges all over the world, Outokumpu aimed to provide a technical solution through the use of duplex stainless, rather than simply tender for the supply of material. “The use of duplex stainless steels in bridges around the world is becoming more and more the material of choice, so it was great to see Arup in Australia embrace it in its design”, said Con Logos, Vice President APAC at Outokumpu. “A special thanks to George Miech from my team for his tireless effort in the early stages, working closely with both Arup and RMS to have duplex stainless specified”. 

Outokumpu also assisted the fabricator and the end client, Transport for NSW, with expertise, advice, and preliminary procedures in welding the material, particularly vital with the thicker sections which require great care to ensure optimal material properties are realised in the weld and adjacent areas.

The bridge was fabricated in Sydney in four modules, which were trial assembled prior to being delivered to site, where the four segments were positioned and secured over the course of four weekends. Specially designed lifting assemblies were necessary to ensure the segments were not overstressed. 

As bridge design increasingly demands greater durability, aesthetic and creative licence and structural performance, stainless steel, of the duplex family in particular, presents a wonderful option now and into the future.

Photo credit: Landcom

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine issue 71, 2021.

 

Stainless steel… Limitless

‘Limitless’ is the stainless steel sculptural creation of Gold Coast artist Ian Haggerty, whose concept was selected in a design competition by Bond University to celebrate their 30th anniversary.

The 6.5m tall sculpture takes pride of place under the university’s iconic Arch and gleams in dignity and elegance from its 316L grade stainless steel construction. Inspired by the limitless possibilities created by education, the sculpture features a world sphere at its centre with four overarching wings representing the four pillars of learning: Learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together, and learning to be.

Reflection was also a key concept in the sculpture’s design, with mirror polished stainless steel the unrivalled material choice in bringing together the alumni and future students to inspire and signify that there are no limitations to education when it comes to gender, age, race, or religion.

In a nod to celebrating local fabrication, the artist engaged Burleigh-based ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator Atlas Stainless Balustrade & Fabrications to fabricate and install the 1.5t sculpture. 

Stainless steel rings were laser cut in various sizes from 100kg of 5mm mirror polished plate and welded together to create the intricate bubble pattern featured in the top section of the four wings. The bottom sections were fabricated from 400kg of plasma cut plate, with 1mm sheeting used to cover the bottom eight sides to allow for the chemical etching of over 26,000 Bond University graduates in homage of their educational achievements.

The Atlas Stainless Balustrade & Fabrications team also fabricated the base structure, and sphere and wing supports from mirror polished pipe to bring together the pre-constructed world sphere and its overarching wings. The fabrication process involved the team using their in-house plasma cutter, CNC bandsaw, CNC section roller and in-house polishing equipment both by machine and hand, and specialist welding techniques.

The project took over six months to complete and the structure was installed using two cranes, joining the university’s existing landmarks as a focal point of the state-of-the-art campus landscape. Special lighting effects were also installed as part of the sculpture to highlight its key features at night and shimmer in the surrounding water of the lake fountain.

‘Limitless’ was unveiled in May 2019 to celebrate the university’s 30-year milestone and remains a legacy piece for Bond University.  

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine issue 69, 2020.

 

Stainless steel makes an entrance

A collaboration between ASSDA Members using 'gold' stainless steel has delivered the epitome of opulent luxury at The Star Sydney.

The Star Sydney's multi-million-dollar transformation has seen its Pyrmont Street entrance revolutionise the guest arrival experience, with a porte-cochère facing the glittering Darling Harbour and a refurbished Grand Foyer combining innovative architecture, contemporary art and technology.

Over 4000m2 of grade 316 stainless steel with a gold finish is featured throughout the Grand Foyer and porte-cochère, enriching the luxurious look and feel of the integrated resort. ASSDA Member Steel Color Australia supplied 1mm and 1.2mm thick stainless steel sheet in various lengths from 2400mm to 3500mm and widths of 1219mm to 1500mm as the sole distributor in Australia and New Zealand for embossed, coloured, mirror finished and textured stainless steel manufactured by Steel Color S.p.a in Italy.

The stainless steel's gold colour was achieved with a titanium film using a Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) coating process. The environmentally-friendly method vapourises titanium in a vacuum chamber to form an extremely thin layer that bonds to the steel's surface. The process also improves the performance of the steel, increasing durability and resistance to heat, light, abrasion, scratches and corrosion.

In addition, the steel's surface features an anti-fingerprint (AFP) coating preventing oil and finger marks, contributing to a sleek aesthetic finish with minimal maintenance. The AFP coating provides the titanium coating with a timer colour finish, strengthening colour stability and extending the service life of the application.

Suitable for internal and external applications, coloured stainless steel can be used in many design forms and was specified for the bespoke luxurious features in The Star Sydney's Foyer and porte-cochère.

The Steel Color Australia supplied stainless steel sheeting was installed in the Grand Foyer and internal porte-cochère by ASSDA Member Karisma Joinery, across the door portals, elevator door jambs and ceiling panels, columns and wall panels. A V-Groove machine was used to form precise, sharp angles and folds, creating architectural profiles to achieve a seamless upmarket finish and meet the high-end specification.

The stainless steel clad elements for the external porte-cochère, including luxury retailer finishes for Gucci, was fabricated and installed by ASSDA Member Fabmetal Specialists. All profiles and clad elements were fabricated in their workshop in Melbourne, using an in-house V-Groove machine to achieve a crisp bend profile, prior to installation on-site by the Fabmetal team. A split batten system was used to clad the stainless steel elements across the retail facade fixtures, window mullions, headers and kickers. The Fabmetal team were also tasked to clad the revolving doors and overcame challenges with complex curved works, laminating gold stainless steel on to curved fabricated T-sections in power-coated aluminium to create a striking two-tone effect.

In a nod to architectural innovation, The Star Sydney will continue to welcome and awe its guests with its everlasting stainless steel gleam and elegance.

  

 

PHOTO CREDIT: MURRAY FREDERICKS PHOTOGRAPHY. 

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine issue 68, 2020.

 

Stainless steel behind high-tech visual art

Australian designed and manufactured stainless steel wedge wire grating has been instrumental in delivering 'Aquatique', the first sculptural water installation of its design in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Star Sydney's Grand Foyer has been transformed as part of an $850 million redevelopment for the integrated resort. A unique immersive visual experience is now welcoming guests in a masterfully choreographed interplay of light, water, digital art and live performance.

The key elements of the installation include an 8K resolution, 25m wide crescent-shaped digital screen, laser light shows and 'Aquatique', a cascading sculptural water feature spanning 8m with a 2m diameter centre stage.

Central to the design and function of the sculptural water feature is the use of Australian designed and manufactured stainless steel wedge wire by ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator Paige Stainless.

PAIGE STAINLESS HEELGUARD® is at the cutting edge of water drainage technology, offering continuous drainage through its 5mm aperture and high-water volume intake and removal efficiency. The water feature was designed with a throughput capacity of 30,000L, with water being pumped up to 15m vertically to the water feature jets, recirculated through the PAIGE STAINLESS HEELGUARD® and reused whilst the water feature is in operation. The key was to minimise water splash during the process with PAIGE STAINLESS HEELGUARD® delivering the brief with its unique wedge design. In addition, stainless steel is an excellent material choice for water drainage technology, offering durability, aesthetics and ease-of-cleaning during maintenance inspections.

Paige Stainless' project scope also included the design, fabrication and installation of the water collection tank, substructure for the grating and centre stage area within the water feature. Over 3.5 tonnes of grade 316 stainless steel was supplied for the project by ASSDA Members Austral Wright Metals and Midway Metals, including 4mm thick plate and rectangular hollow sections.

The water feature body was manufactured at Paige Stainless' manufacturing facility in Caboolture, Queensland, and fabricated in 14 components for ease of interstate transportation logistics, efficient installation and maintenance.

Delivery and installation logistics were a focal point of the design as The Star Sydney was full operational and open to the public during installation. Provisions were made for specific delivery times and material management to make for a successful, non-disruptive transition from truck to site. Careful planning and design resulted in minimal on-site welding and passivation treatment using citric acid by the Paige Stainless installation team.

The water feature uses 100% recycled water. Its sculptural display is complemented by a theatrical light show and digital art canvas inspired by Australian artists, cinematographers and animators. As the world's largest permanent multi-sensory art experience, the Grand Foyer at The Star Sydney is a visual feast entertaining an average 30,000 guests per day.

PHOTO CREDIT: MURRAY FREDERICKS PHOTOGRAPHY. 

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine issue 68, 2020.

Luxe Stainless

A new luxury home renovation in Cottesloe, Western Australia is leading the way in cutting-edge bathroom design with a statement stainless steel wall.

ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator ALLOY’s stainless steel mosaic tiles are featured in the bathroom designed by Nina Dempster of Ozbyrd Design and architect Paul Jones RBA of a recently constructed addition by builder Adrian Zorzi.

The alluring back wall of the walk-in shower is lined with ALLOY’s “SWISS CROSS” 30x30mm stainless steel mosaic tiles. The mixture of the No. 4 and No. 8 brushed and mirror finish 304-grade solid tiles offers a textured finish with a glimmering light reflection and decorative appeal.

The client wanted a brilliant surface finish to enhance the space and grandeur, particularly with no natural light feeding into the area. Stainless steel delivers the brief, with its reflective sheen and the added benefits of the material’s hygienic properties and durable nature. It also plays an important aesthetic role in the camouflage of water spots. 

The entire shape of ALLOY’s mosaic tile has a unique bevelled edge, and its manufacture from 1.6mm thick sheet ensures the tile will not dent, crack or de-laminate. No surface treatment was required on the stainless steel, being installed in an indoor environment.

The end result is a high quality, precision-engineered stainless steel product striking a balance between function and luxury style.

Photo credit: Ryan North, and are subject to copyright.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine issue 65, 2019.

 

Stainless Opulence

Exemplary stainless steel craftmanship has delivered a sophisticated and lavish cocktail lounge in the heart of the Gold Coast’s entertainment hub.

Cocktail connoisseurs have been flocking to Cherry, The Star Gold Coast to experience the designer drinks on offer in the grandeur of the lounge featuring a 22m long bar. Refurbished in 2017 as part of the first stage of the property’s major transformation, its upmarket look and feel was inspired by its sister venue at The Star Sydney.

Central to Cherry’s luxury design is the intricate, gold metalwork featured in the VIP booth screens, lounge surrounds and balustrades. ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator Minnis & Samson fabricated these elements using grade 316 stainless steel tube and flat bar supplied by ASSDA Member Australian Stainless Distributors

The stainless steel was mirror polished prior to the electrostatic application of a special coating to achieve the gold colour finish. Crystal hardware and lush red velvet furnishings complement the gold stainless steel to deliver the opulent design and vision of the cocktail lounge.

Stainless steel is a high quality and high strength material, and was specified for its longevity, hygienic properties and aesthetic appeal. In addition, stainless steel offered better weldability to achieve the detail in the metalwork’s curvature design.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 63, Spring 2018

The Emerging Dragon

A stainless steel masterpiece

Michael Van Dam’s award-winning stainless steel dragon sculpture plays a major part in Chinese culture dating several thousand years. 

The dragon is a symbol of prosperity, strength, courage and resolve. The designer himself was born in the year of the Dragon (1964). As a result of welding thousands of stainless steel links together, alongside Van Dam’s creativity, a durable and aesthetically pleasing piece of art came to life – The ‘Emerging Dragon’. 

The Emerging Dragon has been showcased at various locations and shows on the Gold Coast. This stainless steel masterpiece was originally created for the 2015 Swell Sculpture Festival held on Currumbin Beach which attracted 250,000 visitors over ten days, winning both Kid’s and People’s Choice Awards. 

The 3m high by 5m long sculpture was created from more than 4000m of 4mm 316 stainless steel chain and weighs an impressive 700kg. Following fabrication the sculpture was electropolished. All stainless steel chain used for Michael’s sculptures is supplied by ASSDA Member BRIDCO

Van Dam’s stainless steel art pieces are well equipped to face the rigours of outdoor display. This led to grade 316 stainless steel chain being his choice of material for all his sculptures. He believes the use of stainless steel for his pieces makes for a unique use of the material, it feels great to the touch, can withstand various environments and will outlast most other materials. 

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 63, Spring 2018

Stainless and Sand Go Hand-In-Hand

With the use of stainless steel, indigenous artist Kylie Graham’s interest in Whadjuk Noongar customs and culture has helped bring a symbolic sculpture to life at Perth’s recently revitalised Scarborough beach. 

The people of Whadjuk Noongar are the traditional owners of Perth. The Ethereal Welcome Hand sculpture represents a hand casting sand which acknowledges the custodians, the people of Whadjuk and their enduring spiritual connection to the land and sea. 

In respect to Noongar cultural customs, visitors are to throw a handful of sand into the water as an introduction of themselves to the spirits and ancestors. It was only fitting for the 3D sculpture to cast its presence near water and is primarily constructed from grade 316 stainless steel supplied by ASSDA Members Midway Metals and Stirlings Australia

The 6.5m tall sculpture uses 5mm stainless steel plate throughout the entire wire frame hand spanning 4m long. The finish is 2B and all the welds are TIG welded, cleaned and passivated. The four support columns are also fabricated from 316 stainless steel. 

Illustrated in the palm of the stainless steel hand, pouring down to the ground is gold anodised aluminium cladding, with perforations backlit with LED lights which can be programmed for multiple occasions.

At the back of the hand, the design of a dolphin and three fish is laser cut through the stainless steel, to reflect the importance of the relationship between Noongars and mammals.

Stainless steel was chosen as the main sculptural material for its durability, excellent corrosion resistance and aesthetically-pleasing properties. This stunning work-of-art was designed, fabricated and installed by local art consultant Forever Shining.

The Ethereal Welcome Hand is one of six pieces of artwork along the redeveloped foreshore and can be found between the surf club and swimming pool. It has been welcoming the public since March 2018 and will continue to do so for many years to come thanks to the durable life span of stainless steel.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 62 Winter 2018.

Stainless Provides Strength and Style

Taking pride of place within Perth’s Optus Stadium Park is the Arbour featuring a stainless steel cable net canopy delivered by ASSDA Member Structural Dynamics.

The 60,000-capacity arena is the latest major development to hit Western Australia’s capital, boasting a world-class multi-purpose venue that combines innovative design with community infrastructure.

The impressive Arbour stands 10m tall and 20m wide, and stretches 450m around the south side of the Stadium. It connects a new six-platform railway station to the Swan River, over which the Matagarup Bridge is currently being constructed to provide pedestrian access to East Perth.

Over a thousand stainless steel cables were installed on the 43 arches that make up the Arbour to create a tensile structure in the form of a canopy. Suspended on the structure using bespoke fittings are 3,076 bronzed artwork panels reflecting Whadjuk and Noongar stories. 

Stadium Park was constructed on wetlands with cultural heritage significance to the Indigenous community, and its rich Aboriginal history was the inspiration behind the Arbour’s design.

More than 13 tonnes of grade 316 stainless steel was used, including in excess of 14km of 16mm and 8mm hammaTM X 1x19 wire rope supplied by ASSDA Member Arcus Wire Group, 20,000 bespoke fittings and over 34,000 screws.

Stainless steel was specified for the cable net canopy for its strength and durability to withstand the harsh Western Australian weather conditions, including powerful coastal winds driven from the Indian Ocean. The 16mm edge cables on the structure were tensioned to forces up to 52kN, with the 8mm longitudinal and transversal cables tensioned up to maximum of 11kN.

In addition, the high quality and aesthetical value of stainless steel complemented the Arbour’s design in creating an eye-catching structure for patrons.

Structural Dynamics provided value engineering and practical advice to the project engineer Maffeis Engineering and project architect Hassell on how to best integrate stainless steel tensile systems into the design.

Their in-house team of engineers used structural and finite element analysis as components of the detailed analysis and modelling on how the cable design would behave and interact within a tensile architecture installation.

Structural Dynamics also worked with engineering firm Partridge to undertake the final design, review, slip testing of the bespoke cable clamps and final sign off for the project. Each of the eight different types of cable edge clamps were sent to the National Association of Testing Authorities’ (NATA) accredited laboratory for slip testing under wet and dry conditions to ensure their strength and adequacy.

The cable fittings were designed to the AS 1170 series: Structural Design Action, AS 4100: Steel Structures and AS 2759: Steel Wire Rope – Use, Operation and Maintenance.

Structural Dynamics’ Project Manager Shaun Salmon explained the logistics of the assembly of the Arbour whilst maintaining safe and continued access to the Stadium for more than 1,000 workers. ‘It was important during the installation process that our team of skilled and qualified tradesmen and riggers followed the approved construction sequencing and quality management system processes whilst not impeding access to the Stadium from the primary entry point on the southern concourse. Both temporary and permanent bracing measures were used throughout construction along with sequential tightening and regular cable tension testing to achieve the design intent drape and sag of the cable net canopy and not applying adverse force to any single point on the structure.’

Structural Dynamics’ collaboration with the multiple stakeholders involved in the Arbour design and construction ensured the successful delivery of a custom-designed stainless steel cable net canopy providing the flexibility, tensile strength and structural performance required.  

Optus Stadium officially opened on 21 January 2018 and is the new home game venue of local Australian Football League teams Fremantle Football Club and the West Coast Eagles.

 

        

 

Arbour photos courtesy of Structural Dynamics. Photography by Abigail Harman.

Aerial photo of Optus Stadium Park courtesy of MakMax.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine #61.

Art Symbolises Community

You return home after a long journey. Imagine being greeted by a beautiful stainless steel sculpture surrounded by landscaped gardens on your return. One ASSDA Member has used stainless steel to symbolise everything we love about our communities: Security, comfort and home.

It’s easy to think of stainless steel in relation to tubes, panels and rolls in the construction industry, but Brisbane-based ASSDA member, Concept Stainless Design, has taken the product and crafted it into stunningly beautiful sculptures for developers Villa World at their new subdivision on the northern Gold Coast.

Located 70km south of Brisbane, Arundel Springs will provide 386 dwellings in a family-friendly environment adjacent to the Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area and close to Griffith University and light rail services.

Villa World provided the concept design to reflect the organic growth of nature and symbolise the new families and children who will grow in the new suburb. 

The team at Concept Stainless Design adapted the design to match the size of available grade 316 stainless steel sheets. A small curve of 5mm radius was provided at the tip of the fronds to avoid sharp edges. Another small curve of 9mm was used at the gully between fronds to achieve a flawless polished finish.

The sculptures have been designed to withstand winds of up to 160km per hour, an important feature given Arundel Spring’s proximity to the ocean. An internal frame was built to secure the fronds in position, as well as a horizontal base beam hidden within the sculpture and two legs extending down from the base beam into a large buried concrete block. The structural design certification was completed by Concept Stainless Design’s in-house engineer.

The face of each sculpture was manufactured from grade 316 stainless steel sheet supplied by ASSDA Sponsor Dalsteel Metals.

The sculpture faces are joined along the centre line with an invisible polished butt weld, executed by Concept Stainless Design’s highly skilled tradesman at their Brisbane workshop. The faces were bonded to marine ply and “U” stiffeners were formed from grade 316 stainless steel strips then glued and screwed in. The second face was then placed over the stiffeners, glued and screwed to the ply-bonded face.

The entire project took eight weeks to construct and transported to their new home at Arundel Springs. The sculptures were secured in place by concrete blocks and steel bolts provided by Villa World’s civil contractor in under two hours.

Stainless steel was chosen for the sculptures because of its beautiful, smooth and highly polished finish, and for its low-maintenance properties. Surrounded by clear skies, new vegetation and lush grass, the sculptures welcome residents and visitors alike.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 60 (Summer 2017/18).

Wynyard Walk: Where Beauty Meets Function

New infrastructure in the heart of Sydney is set to transform the busy transport hub and provide a stylish new gateway to the Barangaroo development.

21 June 2017

A growing population in Australia's most populous city calls for innovative design, so when the NSW State Government commissioned construction of the Wynyard Walk, ASSDA Sponsor and Accredited Fabricator Stoddart stepped up to the challenge.

The Wynyard Walk forms one of several solutions to break congestion in the Sydney CBD, allowing pedestrians to move from the Wynyard transport hub to the new development at Barangaroo waterfront in six minutes, avoiding steep hills, busy intersections and inclement weather events.

With an estimated 75,000 commuters using the busy hub every day, traffic flow is expected to increase to 110,000 over the next seven years in what is traditionally Sydney's third busiest station.

The tunnel will become the main arterial connection between Barangaroo and the city's transport network and provides vital infrastructure into the future.

THE PROJECT

Alongside CPB Contractors, Stoddart incorporated over 1,600m2 of perforated and solid stainless steel sheeting fabricated into ceiling and fascia pannelling installed in the Clarence Street entrance facade and the tunnel lining. The new Clarance Street entry point is a multi-level portal descending to Wynyard Station via escalators and elevators.

ASSDA Sponsor Austral Wright Metals supplied the project with over 50 tonnes of 445M2 grade stainless steel sheet.

A major consideration for the design team was to ensure aesthetic value for commuters and visitors alike.

THE DESIGN

Inspired by nature and Sydney region geology, the design concept for Wynyard Station focused on flow, with all materials selected to create a sense of motion as part of a unified architectural expression.

The intricate patterns were all designed and executed within Stoddart's factory in Karawatha, Brisbane. The design work was completed wholly on CAD and Solidworks to ensure each panel fitted exactly into the patter and alongside adjacent panels. The Brisbane facility completed all aspects on the manufacture.

The external facade from Clarence Street to Wynyard Station was completed using perforated metal panels on the new access area via escalators and elevators down to the station several levels below.

The internal fitout, including the ceilings, walls and bulkheads, were all constructed from perforated stainless steel as well as solid stainless steel panels.

The complicated ceiling pattern proved challenging, but not insurmountable, resulting in a beautiful floating effect beckoning commuters along.

The project signalled the completion of Stage One of a $160 million upgrade to Wynyard Station.

 THE OUTCOME

The Kent Street level incorporates an extraordinary twenty-metre digital media screen which showcases flowing images of time, travel and places from all over Sydney throughout history, providing commuters with a far more entertaining commute than traditional toilet-block-tiled underground tunnels.

For tens of thousands of commuters who daily traverse the tunnel, Wynyard Walk is a time and energy saving alternative to the street level traffic roulette they once faced.

The added bonus is the stunning, aesthetically pleasing surrounds, the shiny panels and beautiful architecture, all of which was made possible by the use of stainless steel.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 59 (Winter 2017).

Impressive Stainless Steel Ribbon Graces New Brisbane Food Gallery

Stainless steel has brought life to a unique food precinct located in a recently opened premium office tower in Brisbane City's Golden Triangle.

Developed and constructed by Grocon, 480 Queen Street’s sustainable and eclectic design boasts a 6 Star Green Star and a 5 Star NABERS rating. The building’s food gallery, otherwise known as Room 480, is located on level 2 and capitalises on the stunning views of Brisbane River and Story Bridge to deliver a restaurant style experience and retreat for diners.

Complementing this space is a suspended stainless steel sculpture, designed by local architecture and interior design practice Arkhefield. Inspired by water flowing around rocks, the ‘stainless steel ribbon’ delicately hangs from the ceiling and weaves over the landscape of the room.

Grade 304 stainless steel was specified for the ribbon feature, using 100m of 0.9 x 600mm coil supplied by ASSDA Sponsor Dalsteel Metals. The 1 tonne of coil was supplied in a Bright Annealed (BA) finish and polyethylene coating on both sides for protection, with one side brighter than the other to fulfill the architectural effect and design requirements.

Arkhefield wanted the ribbon feature to be highly reflective on one side, with a brushed appearance on the other. As it curves and wraps through the space, the bright and flat sides of the stainless steel ribbon interact to reflect the surrounding colours and light, allowing movement and distortion throughout. Stainless steel proved the only material able to achieve this aesthetically appealing finish, whilst providing a high-quality, durable and lightweight structure.

The stainless steel ribbon spans 35m x 6m across Room 480’s ceiling and was installed by ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator Stainless Aesthetics.

Stainless Aesthetics Director Mike Mooney said the installation of the entire 1 tonne of stainless steel coil as a continuous ribbon was one of the more challenging aspects of the project. This was successfully achieved using their custom designed and fabricated turntable, which housed the coil and allowed it to unwind safely 3.5m above floor level, while protecting the ribbon’s surface finish.

The installation of the stainless steel ribbon around the light fixtures emphasised the visual appeal of the sculpture and its surface qualities. It is suspended using 3.2mm wire support cables and fixings in grade 316 stainless steel supplied by ASSDA Member Anzor Fasteners.

The stainless steel ribbon is an impressive and visually dynamic integrated element of Room 480, adding colour and movement to a traditionally formal space. In addition, the sculpture provides a level of intimacy to the space that could not be achieved with a standard flat suspended ceiling, providing a pleasant ambience for patrons to dine and relax.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 57 (Spring 2016).

Images courtesy of Stainless Aesthetics.

Stainless in Color

A modern and innovative design using coloured and textured stainless steel has left an impressive statement on an Adelaide streetscape.

South Australia’s premier shopping district Rundle Mall underwent a full makeover from 2012-2014 as part of the Adelaide City Council’s initiative to revitalise the precinct.

Part of this redevelopment included a redesign of the facade of a commercial tower at 80 Grenfell Street, housing the Adelaide headquarters of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

Design practice HASSELL delivered an iridescent façade design using coloured stainless steel cladding, supplied by ASSDA Member Steel Color Australia. The extent of the façade referred to as ‘the ribbon’ cascades over 10 storeys, connecting the office tower to the lobby entrance via the retail parapet. The ribbon was made up of over 100 panels that twist and bend over the full height of the building, creating an artistic ripple effect.

HASSELL and Arup’s façade engineering team tested this unique design with physical and virtual models, further refining the design detailing with extensive prototyping. This collaboration with the assistance of Steel Color Australia’s product and material knowledge ensured this remarkable design element was feasible.

Stainless steel was specified for this design as its inherent properties allowed for the level of manipulation required to construct the architect’s creative expression, as well as provide a high quality and aesthetically pleasing finish.

Over 1500m2 of grade 304 stainless steel in 4000x1250x1.2mm sheet in a Rosso colour (Italian for red) was supplied by Steel Color Australia, as the sole distributor in Australia and New Zealand for embossed, coloured, mirror finished and textured stainless steel manufactured by Steel Color S.p.a in Italy.

Steel Colour Australia owner Vince Araullo said that electro-colouring (INCO system) is the main technology in Steel Color Australia’s production. ‘The stainless steel sheet’s surface was directly altered, chemically stimulating the natural passivation of the material. No painting was involved in the process, increasing the pitting resistance of the stainless steel.’

In terms of manipulating the steel’s shape, Araullo said that colouring is an intrinsic part of the stainless steel. ‘This means the stainless does not lose colour during shaping, as opposed to aluminium for example which would need to be coloured after folding due to the fragility of the coloured anodic coating.’

Steel Color Australia facilitated the overseas production of some 270 sheets, weighing 10 tonnes and their shipment to the project site. Modular framework was constructed to bend the stainless sheets into shape for easy installation on site by crane.

The visually striking building façade integrates impressively into the Rundle Place precinct, and the outcome has resulted in a virtually maintenance-free and colour enduring structure.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 56 (Winter 2016).

Images courtesy of Steel Color Australia.

A Walk to Remember

The spirit of the Anzacs is evoked in a new architecturally stunning, stainless steel walkway that unfolds around Newcastle’s cliffs and links Strzelecki Lookout to Bar Beach.

 The much-anticipated Newcastle Memorial Walk opened on 24 April 2015 on the eve of the Anzac centenary, and features spectacular 360-degree views of Newcastle city and coastline.

The 450m raised walkway forms part of Newcastle City Council’s ‘Bathers Way Project’, a $29 million foreshore development and revitalisation program to link Merewether Beach with Nobby Beach via a coastal walk. The total cost of the walkway was $4.5 million, $3 million of which was contributed by BHP Billiton to mark their 100-year anniversary since the commencement of steel making in the Hunter region.

In commemoration of the Anzacs the walkway features silhouettes of soldiers, laser cut from 10mm thick weathering steel, specified to withstand the coastal wind load. These silhouettes are engraved with 3,860 family names of almost 11,000 known Hunter Valley men and women who served in the Australian Imperial Force, Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army Nursing Service and British and Commonwealth forces during World War 1 from 1914-1918.

EJE Architecture carried out the detailed design work, and lead architect Barney Collins said the historical significance of the project site inspired the walkway’s sinusoidal design.

“During the design phase, we looked at the history of the site and build location next to Memorial Drive, which was originally constructed in 1922 to pay tribute to the soldiers who fought in World War I,” Collins said.

“The design concept of what is commonly known as ‘the wave effect’ was drawn on the fact that DNA was used to identify the human remains of soldiers, and this process stood as the connection between the soldiers and their families.”

Constructed by Waeger Constructions and engineered by Northrop Engineers, the walkway has a structural design life of 70 years, as required by Newcastle City Council. Grade 316L stainless steel was specified due to its sustainable, corrosion resistance and ductile properties. The cliff top location of the walkway overlooking the Pacific Ocean was also a determining factor given the high wind and salt exposure.

ASSDA Sponsor Atlas Steels supplied 64 tonnes of stainless steel for the walkway including DN150 x 10.7mm, DN125 x 6.5mm, and DN65 x 5.1mm wall pipe; 200mm x 100mm x 6mm rectangular hollow sections and 100mm x 100mm x 5mm square hollow sections for the bridge section frames; and 16mm diameter round bar and 50 x 2mm and 50 x 3mm round tube for the handrails and balustrades.

Good scheduling and planning ensured on-time delivery of the stainless steel over a period of 14 weeks, which was sourced from three overseas mills. Positive material identification (PMI) testing was performed by the mills on all stainless steel supplied to ensure the specified grade of 316L was delivered.

Fabricated and installed by ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator SGM Construction & Fabrication, the 160m of stainless steel bridge sections consist of eight, 20m single spans (four under trusses and four over trusses) each weighing 6.5 tonnes. The frame of each section is fabricated from 12 square hollow sections welded to two rectangular hollow   sections, and the walking surface is laid over the frame. On either side of the truss, the wave-like effect was created by bending and rolling wall pipe to sweep above the frame for the over trusses and below the frame for the under trusses.

Seven Y-shaped precast concrete pylons up to 8.8m high and 3.4m wide, and two abutments, support the bridge sections of the walkway that reach up to 9m above the ground.

The decking of the walkway was laid with fibre-reinforced plastic, and being a non-structural component, was specified with a 44-year design life. The safety aspects of the bridge are completed with hand railings, which are welded on to the bridge trusses inside the curved pipe sections.

Over 760m of handrails and 600m of vertical balustrades cover the length of the bridge, specified with a maximum Ra value of 0.5. ASSDA Member Australian Pickling & Passivation Service was contracted to electropolish the balustrades and pickle and passivate the completed bridge sections. A purpose-built electropolishing unit, consisting of six baths, was set up to handle and achieve the specified finish of the 1.5m high x 6m long balustrade panels each weighing 180kg.

With an allotted fabrication period of only four months, SGM Fabrication & Construction manufactured the bridge sections using its 2000m2 workshop to full capacity to meet the critical deadline for Anzac Day.

As the walkway runs parallel to Memorial Drive, the main thoroughfare from King Edward Park to Merewether Beach, the erection of the pylons and installation of the bridge sections took place only during a 10-hour window over two nights to avoid prolonged temporary road closures.

Coastal undermining was a challenge for the structural engineers, however good design and construction ensured environmental protection of the sensitive coastal site to minimise erosion.

Mr Collins said the key to the project’s cost control and overall success was the engagement of local contractors.

“The direct involvement of each contractor’s Directors ensured seamless communication and full control of each project phase. The walkway is already an icon for Newcastle, and everyone who has worked on the project is thrilled over its success,” Collins said.

More than two million people visit Newcastle’s beaches every year, and the Newcastle Memorial Walk is already one of Australia’s most remarkable coastal walkways and a significant World War I tribute.

  

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 55 (Winter 2015).

Images courtesy of Bryce Thomas.

Under the Sun

‘Under the Sun’ is a 1300kg, 6.5m diameter suspended stainless steel sculpture that embodies a symbol of the moon floating over the earth, and casts filigreed shadows under the sun. It is an inspiring architectural piece featured at the entrance of Stockland’s Point Cook Town Centre in Victoria, and was completed in 2014 as part of the shopping centre’s $20 million revamp.

 The sculpture is an expression of the relationship between the moon and the sun, opening a space for visitors to reflect in moments of perspective and wonder. The sculpture’s concept was also inspired by the traditional feminist symbol of the moon, celebrating the role of women in the Point Cook community and embodying the role of nature in the life and tides of the local Bellarine Peninsula Wetlands.

It was designed by Melbourne artists Robert Owen and Joanna Buckley, engineered by Anthony Snyders of Adams Consulting Engineers, and fabricated by the artists in collaboration with Jeph Neale of Artery Cooperative and Luke Adams of Eco Electrics. The intricate detail in the sculpture was laser cut by Arrow Laser.

The sculpture’s face panels and reinforcing ring beam were made using grade 316 stainless steel, specified for its excellent corrosion resistance. It is suspended between the building and a 10m high mast, using 22 grade 316 stainless steel cables of diameters 4mm, 7mm, 8mm and 10mm and of varying tensile strengths up to 71kN.

The complexity of the suspension and installation of the sculpture required 3D modelling, detailed structural analysis, design and documentation which was undertaken by Anthony Snyders in consultation with ASSDA Member Ronstan Tensile Architecture (a division of Ronstan International).

This analysis and modelling allowed Ronstan Tensile Architecture to manufacture cables to the exact lengths that would see the 1300kg sculpture held securely in the designed position, taking into account the weight of the structure, cable stretch, cable creep (elongation over time) and wind loads. The bending of the mast and loads applied to the building were also defined by the analysis and considered in the design and installation.

Ronstan Tensile Architecture’s General Manager Rowan Murray said 3D modelling and analysis was a critical step in accurately predicting the structural behaviour and performance of cable structures. Applying this science upfront assures these structures are installed as designed and mitigates many of the risks of suspending art in the public realm.

In addition to consultation for the structural design of the cable support structure, Ronstan Tensile Architecture’s project scope included the manufacture of the cables, installation of the foundations, the mast, brackets to the existing building, and the lifting and suspension of the sculpture.

ASSDA Member MME Surface Finishing was also engaged to mechanically and chemically polish the stainless steel sculpture to provide maximum protection against tea staining and corrosion, whilst presenting an architecturally pleasing surface finish. Firstly, 3 x 1.5m stainless steel plates were mechanically polished to a No. 6 Finish, 320 Grit (0.5μm Ra Max) ensuring a smooth and consistent linished finish. Once laser cut and fabricated, MME Surface Finishing pickled, passivated and electropolished the panels and rings.

The end result of this successful collaboration is an impressive sculpture with an outstanding balance of aesthetics, geometry, constructability and durability.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 55 (Winter 2015).

Images courtesy of John Gollings.

Star Light, Star Bright

The magic of a clear night sky filled with stars has inspired many creative souls. Now, through a collaboration between science and art, a stainless steel sculpture installed at the Australian National University in Canberra brings new depth to the connection between ourselves and the stars above.

The 4 metre diameter, mirror-polished stainless steel sphere (called UNA), which sits in the science precinct at ANU, is so much more than first meets the eye. Designed by UK artist Wolfgang Buttress, UNA features 9,100 laser-cut perforations, which were mapped in collaboration with ANU astrophysicist Dr Daniel Bayliss.

The holes match the 9,100 stars that we can see with the naked eye from Earth and vary in size according to the brightness of the stars in the night sky (the brighter the star, the larger the hole).

Inside the sphere sits a second, two metre diameter mirror polished, stainless steel sphere. When viewed through one of the outer perforations, the internal sphere reflects small points of light from the outer sphere, creating, according to Mr Buttress, a microcosm of our perceived night sky.

“One makes connections to one self and the stars above. We are all made from stardust,” he said.

The magic enters a different realm at night, thanks to the fibre optic lights that sit in the centre of the two spheres, casting a glow through the perforations.

Mr Buttress said the use of stainless steel and high quality fabrication were integral to the success of the project.

Aside from the ability to be mirror polished, he said stainless steel was specified due to its strength, resilience and, if maintained properly, the fact that it will look as good in 50 years as it does now.

The spheres incorporate around 2000kg of 4mm 316L, 2B finish stainless steel, which was supplied in 24 pieces by ASSDA Major Sponsor Sandvik Materials Technology (now Vulcan Stainless). The pieces were laser cut to shape in-house on one of Sandvik’s four laser machines. Sandvik VIC/TAS State Manager Stephen Orridge said each hole was unique in its shape and the work involved about 40 hours of programming.

The sheet was pressed by Dished & Flanged Ends to create the curved forms for both the inner and outer spheres. ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator NRG Piping then joined and welded each segment with only 1mm tolerance, followed by polishing. NRG Piping co-ordinated the fabrication, transport and installation of UNA.

Mr Buttress said the welding had to be done carefully to minimise distortion as all would be seen when it was mirror polished. “There is nowhere to hide. NRG Piping are amazing fabricators as they totally understand the properties and essence of stainless steel,” he said.

Because the inner sphere had to be positioned inside the outer sphere during the fabrication process, a 600mm hole at the base allowed enough room for a welder to get access inside to polish out the internal welds.

The end result is one of the artist’s favourite pieces that he has created. “By day, the inner world is revealed on close inspection and at night it has a different character as light pours out of her like a beacon. It works on a micro and macro level, at day and by night. It was a great marriage between art, architecture and engineering,” Mr Buttress said.

Images courtesy of Ben Wrigley.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless magazine issue 54, Spring 2014.

Stainless Liquid Architecture

Stainless steel has transformed Perth's historic Forrest Place with a modern, interactive water sculpture.

The ‘Water Labyrinth’ was designed by internationally renowned artist, Jeppe Hein, and is his first permanent installation in Australia.

Launched in mid-November 2012, the $1.3 million sculpture is a major part of the Forrest Place redevelopment initiated by the City of Perth to create a stimulating public space for hundreds of thousands of residents and tourists.

Designed in a grid of nine squares, jets of recycled storm water shoot up into the air, creating 2.3m high water walls that randomly rise and fall. These water walls create up to nine ‘rooms’ that appear and disappear in sequences of 10 seconds before changing configuration.

Visitors of all ages leap from room to room or simply have a splash. The Water Labyrinth enables the interaction of people and art while utilising an important public space flanked by the sandstone inter-war Beaux-Arts style General Post Office and Commonwealth Bank buildings designed by John Smith Murdoch.

Hein says interaction is a distinctive element of the artwork and people play a vital role. ‘The Water Labyrinth activates the space and invites the public to make use of the artwork, either as a space for seclusion and relaxation or the opposite, a place for pure joy and playfulness.’

An impressive feature of the 12m x 12m Water Labyrinth is the 179m of stainless steel grating and drainage. As one of Australia’s largest manufacturers of stainless steel wedge wire grating, ASSDA member and Accredited Fabricator Paige Stainless was chosen to fabricate the water sculpture.

The popular water sculpture features approximately 62m2 of PAIGE STAINLESS HEELGUARD® wedge wire and approximately 160m of 30x5mm flat bar in 304-grade stainless steel, supplied by ASSDA Sponsors Atlas Steels and Fagersta Steels.

PAIGE STAINLESS HEELGUARD® wedge wire is at the cutting edge of water drainage technology, overcoming inherent problems of drainage. The purpose-designed wedge shape in the stainless steel grates allows high volumes of water to shoot through the grates while trapping waste material for easy removal and cleaning.

The grating systems were custom made for the Water Labyrinth with a 5mm gap size and a 4mm wire head width, allowing a 50% open area for water flow. Pickling and passivation treatments were performed on the stainless steel grates prior to installation.

Paige Stainless senior design consultant Daniel Manning said a fine toothcomb approach was taken to ensure there were no safety issues in the final structure, as most visitors would be bare foot when experiencing the Water Labyrinth.

Having worked with stainless steel for over 15 years, Hein says stainless steel was the only material offering the required durability and compatibility for chemical treatment necessary for installation. Manning added that stainless steel’s aesthetic and corrosion resistant properties also made it an easy choice for materials specification in water technology.

Manning coordinated the production of the drainage system, which is an essential component of the Water Labyrinth’s design. All stainless steel components of the sculpture were 100% fabricated at Paige Stainless’s workshop in Caboolture, Queensland.

‘The collaboration with Paige Stainless flew smoothly and was very professional,’ says Hein. ‘They were able to produce and deliver quickly and the grids fabricated were of an extremely high quality.’

Main image above courtesy: Johann König, Berlin and 303 Gallery, New York. Photo credits: Jeppe Hein.
This article is featured in issue 53 of Australian Stainless magazine, Autumn 2013.

Quality Shines

In the beleaguered Australian manufacturing sector, it's heartening to find ASSDA member Tasman Sinkware is a world-class leader in innovative design and manufacturing. Better still, in addition to supplying the domestic market, Tasman is exporting its products to Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Tasman began operations in 1948 as a domestic metal fabricator in Adelaide. A move to sink manufacture saw its Oliveri brand pioneer the deep draw process in Australia and introduce precision manufacturing technology to produce high volume sinks.

Sixty-five years later, Tasman is now Australia’s only world-class, production line sink manufacturer, and its premium Oliveri brand is a market leader with a reputation for excellence in design, function and durability.

All Oliveri sinks are manufactured at Tasman Sinkware’s facility in Adelaide from 18/10 304-grade stainless steel supplied by various Australian distributors from reputable overseas mills. Significant capital expenditure over the years has enabled the company to introduce state-of-the-art processing equipment, including pressing, resistance welding, grinding, polishing, cleaning and product assembly equipment, most of which incorporate automation and/or robotic technology.

Tasman Sinkware employs a two-piece manufacturing process. The drainer and bowls are pressed separately then welded together to create bowls that are deep and have straight sides to ensure maximum capacity.

As a result, its stainless steel kitchen and laundry sinks are considered amongst the best in the world and the development of tapware and innovative accessories such as colanders and cutting boards has helped deepen domestic and international market penetration.

The superior design and function of the Oliveri sink range is led by Tasman’s in-house design team in Adelaide. Boasting more than 12 sink ranges and complementary accessories, the Oliveri brand has a strong presence in the building industry with the ability to influence trends.

Tasman Sinkware supplies leading Australian plumbing and electrical merchants and is developing inroads to commercial and residential real estate developments. Oliveri products are sold and distributed overseas through local agents and Tasman Sinkware also has staff on the ground in the USA.

Competition from cheaper Chinese imports is counteracted by Tasman Sinkware’s continued commitment to providing the highest quality products and excellent customer service. Manufucturing manager Steve Warnett says Tasman continues to innovate with new, leading-edge designs for the renovation and building markets. The Oliveri brand also enjoys high market recognition and loyalty amongst consumers and retail outlets.

Stainless steel continues to be the material of choice in laundries and kitchens due to durability, heat resistance, visual appeal and its 100% recyclability.

Grade 304 stainless steel has excellent corrosion properties, is resistant to most food processing environments and organic chemicals, and can be readily cleaned. It also has good oxidisation resistance in intermittent service to 870°C, and in continuous service to 925°C, making grade 304 the most ideal stainless steel grade and material for heat resistance in kitchen accessories.

Tasman Sinkware is Quality Accredited to ISO 9001. All Oliveri sinks are engineered to world standards and manufactured to AS 1756 and laundry tubs are manufactured to AS 1229.

www.oliverisinks.com

Images courtesy of Tasman Sinkware.
This article is featured in Australian Stainless magazine issue 53, Autumn 2013.

Stainless Steel Leads a Stellar Redevelopment

When Sydney's Star City Casino emerged from the chrysalis of its construction scaffolding, its metamorphosis included a gleaming 340m2 stainless steel-and-glass canopy facing the harbour.

ASSDA Member TripleNine Stainless fabricated and installed the canopy over the main entrance of ‘The Star’, as it is now known, as part of an $850 million redevelopment. This transformation saw Sydney’s only casino swing its orientation 180° from Pyrmont’s fish markets toward the city’s glittering Darling Harbour.

The Star’s façade was designed by Fitzpatrick + Partners and is comprised of 147 flags of clear, low-iron glass supported by two fingers of 20mm and 166mm plate stainless steel. The surfboard-shaped canopy is 40m x 8.5m and made of 300 nominal bore pipe with a lattice effect created by 100 x 50 rectangular hollow sections. All 18 tonnes of stainless steel is 316 grade and was supplied by ASSDA sponsor, Atlas Steels.

Peter Petro, the site architect for the project, says stainless steel was the obvious choice from both a practical and an aesthetic point of view. ‘From a practical perspective, we chose stainless steel because it’s so close to the water and we needed something that was resilient.’

In terms of aesthetics, Petro says they wanted a high-quality finish for the front of the building and stainless steel was a prime choice. ‘We also had a lot of lighting design so we wanted something that would bounce the light around. We were able to give the stainless steel a polish that also matched the glass façade upstairs. This gives it a playfulness at night and a high finish during the day.’

TripleNine’s Director, Justin Brooks, says electropolishing wasn’t an option because of the massive size of the canopy. ‘Instead, it was polished to 400 grit then passivated with an Avesta product.’

Brooks says the project's engineers and designers, Yuanda, employed a Feng Shui expert to sign off on the canopy before
it was built at TripleNine’s purpose-hired workshop. ‘The basic geometry came from the client but we did the design detailing because of all the different shapes and angles,‘ explains Brooks.

The $1.4 million canopy project commenced in August 2010 and was completed in January 2011 with about 15 people assigned to the project. The canopy was built in one piece and transported with a police escort in the dead of the night on the back of a truck with front and rear steering. Installation took only two days, says Brooks.

During the design-detailing phase, TripleNine employed 3-D modelling and Yuanda’s engineers gave careful consideration to expansion and
contraction. ‘Because [the canopy] was so big, we needed to include some bridge building technology,’ says Brooks. ‘We used expansion pads as the canopy was calculated to expand up to 50mm across the total length of it.’

‘The Star’ is a bright, light addition to the harbourside landscape. While the elements of Feng Shui can’t be guaranteed to produce financial fortune in The Star’s casinos, the stainless steel canopy is certain to maintain its appeal for decades to come.

Images courtesy of TripleNine Stainless.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless, issue 52.

A Stainless Icon for Brisbane's Skyline

The Fibonacci spiral and the intersecting spines of a nautilus shell have inspired an impressive 23m high stainless steel sculpture at Kangaroo Point Park overlooking Brisbane's river.

Designed by UK public space artist Wolfgang Buttress, Venus Rising features 10,790 individual welds and over 7km of grade 316 and 2205 duplex stainless steel tube, pipe and round bar supplied by ASSDA Sponsor, Sandvik.

Having worked with stainless steel for over 25 years, Buttress said that the material’s strength, ability to look good over time with minimal maintenance, and the flexibility of finishes works well both practically and aesthetically.

“The variety of finishes which can be achieved with stainless steel through polishing, glass blasting and heat treatment is great. The material needs to be strong, resilient and look as good in 50 years as it does on installation,” Buttress said.

Initial fabrication works took place in the UK before being transported to Brisbane for final assembly. D&R Stainless, an ASSDA member and Accredited Fabricator, continued the fabrication of the 11.5 tonne spire-like sculpture over a period of six weeks. It used the artistic vision of Buttress, as well as renders and 3D models to guide the assembly of the sculpture.

The central design of the sculpture was to create a piece of artwork that was visibly prominent and exemplified strength, elegance and weightlessness. The sculpture features a criss cross ladder-type construction with heavy wall pipes that gently twist to create a hollow spiral. Visitors can enter the sculpture at the base level and gaze up at the sky through an opening at the top.

“I wanted to make connections between the Brisbane River and the sky above. It was important to me that the sculpture works on an intimate scale as well as being seen from afar,” Buttress said.

“Visually, the most challenging part of the project was to try and maintain harmony between form and sculpture. I wanted the piece to have a delicacy but also be strong.”

The main structure of the sculpture features 2205 duplex stainless with cladding tubes at the bottom of the structure starting at 12mm, ascending to 8mm and 10mm tube through the middle and 6mm and 8mm solid round bar at the top. Tubes were supplied in 6m lengths and welded together to create continuous lines of tubing for the stretch of the sculpture.

12mm thick stainless steel tubes in the skeleton of the structure extend about half way up and were heat treated in a stress relieving oven. This transformed the colour of the steel into a golden hue to create a contrast effect in the sculpture.

“We cut 30 to 40 small lengths of stainless steel at various thicknesses and baked them at different temperatures from 100˚ C up to 400˚ C. After comparing the various shades and hues, I chose the golden colour in the end which required heating to around 300˚ C,” Buttress said.
Grade 316 polished stainless steel tubing was used for the middle cladding on the exterior of the structure.

Stainless steel rings were laser cut from LDX 2101 plate in various thicknesses from 20mm down to 3mm, and welded to the body of the sculpture to create an intricate lace-like effect.

The main structure was bead blasted to create a uniform finish and all tubes were chemically cleaned.

Both TIG and MIG welding processes were used, with both solid wire and flux cord used in the MIG welding technique. Di-penetration testing was conducted offsite on the welding of the body of the sculpture to ensure structural integrity.

D&R Stainless director Karl Manders said that while fabricating stainless steel was familiar territory, the application was different and stimulating.
“We found the project intriguing because while we were producing a delicate structure, the core components of the fabrication were quite complex. Our business focuses on heavy industrial applications, and the materials we used for Venus Rising are those used in the heart of the mining and petrochemical industries,” Manders said.

“The experience of this project was intense but satisfying. We made Wolfgang’s vision come to life.”

Buttress said D&R Stainless was a perfect fit for the project and they will also be on board for an upcoming sculpture for The University of Canberra.

“Their understanding of the properties of stainless steel was second to none and their craftsmanship exemplary. It was great to witness such pride in their workmanship,” Buttress said.

Commissioned by the Queensland Government, Venus Rising was selected in a public vote as the winning design from over 60 submissions and was unveiled in late January 2012.

Photographer: David Sandison. Images courtesy of The State of Queensland, Department of Housing and Public Works.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless magazine, issue 51.