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Value: £40 million plus

Richard Hopkinson Architects, Platform 5 ArchitectsDeloitte UK and HLS Installations.

Products: Knauf Designboard 230

Project detail

Knauf Designboard 230 combines aesthetics with practicality at LeSoCo.

 Architects designing the striking atrium at the entrance to a multi-million college development in South London have employed Knauf Designboard 230 Wood panels from Knauf – one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of lightweight building materials and systems – to provide the aesthetic appeal of real wood veneer combined with the practical benefits of gypsum fibre panel.

LeSoCo, an amalgamation of Lewisham College and Southwark College, engaged Richard Hopkinson Architects, working with Platform 5 Architects and Deloittes in a £40 million plus, 14,100m² project to create a major new college building and refurbish existing buildings on its site in The Cut, by Waterloo.

Peter Allen, partner with Platform 5 Architects, says the suggestion to use Knauf Designboard 230 Wood came from the sub contractor, HLS Installation, which pointed out the advantages of the panel. “Originally we wanted to use real wood as a natural material to give the space a warm, welcoming feel so we would have had hardwood timber panels fixed up to timber noggins with insulation laid behind,” he explained. “But we opted for Knauf Designboard 230 Wood because there is no thermal movement once it has been installed and the real wood veneer meant there was no compromise in appearance – it was a very close match.”

After being introduced to the project by HLS Installations, Knauf not only produced samples, but also worked with the company to develop a fixing system and pre-cut panels that would simplify and accelerate the final installation.

“We highlighted the advantages of using the Knauf Designboard 230 panels,” said Mark Snelling, Senior Project Manager at HLS Installations. “They’re pre-finished, maintenance free, and moisture resistant.

“The panels that we used on the angled ceiling were all pre-mitred and had countersunk holes pre drilled so as to speed up the on site works. The straight sections were formed out of 3m panels cut to suit on site. We used the Knauf C profile sub-grid, this was preferred over the MF grid for its use on the sloping sections of the ceiling.”
A high tech, fully engineered product, Knauf Designboard 230 panels are prefabricated for easy installation, as Peter Allen noted. “The panels were delivered palletted and in stacks, pre-cut and ready to install – you wouldn’t get that with timber.”

Developed to provide both aesthetic versatility and outstanding performance, the Knauf Designboard 230 collection consists of a high performance gypsum fibre panel substrate with a range of specialist surface finishes. Knauf Designboard 230 Laminate is supplied with continuous pressure laminate (CPL) or high
pressure laminate (HPL) surface finishes in a range of solid colour, wood, metal and stone effects.

Knauf Designboard 230 Wood panels are finished with a real wood veneer surface. Standard options include Oak, Beech, Maple, Walnut, Elm and Ash, but other finishes can be sourced to satisfy individual customer requirements.

Knauf Designboard 230 Creative is produced via digital printing technology enabling the reproduction of a wide range of natural effects or the interpretation of bespoke designs.

Knauf Designboard 230 Paint can be supplied in RAL and NCS solid colours on request or with a clear lacquer.  These panels can be supplied curved if required to further extend the interior design possibilities. They may also be perforated or micro-perforated to achieve any acoustic performance, whilst their high density and high impact resistance means they are ideal for areas of high traffic.

Knauf Designboard 230 panels are especially suited for interior wall and ceiling applications subject to strict fire regulations. Formaldehyde-free, the core material is non-Combustible and delivers a finished panel with A2-s1,d0 Reaction to Fire classification to EN 13501-1.

Standard board sizes are 12, 16, 18 and 25mm thick and measure 3000, 2500, 2000, 1500, 1200 and 600mm long and 600mm wide. At LeSoCo special sizes were used; and other thicknesses and sizes are available on request.

Knauf Designboard 230 panels can be used alongside other products from the Knauf portfolio to benefit from the Knauf product and system warranties.