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QT Hotels are the ultimate boutique stayover experience. Their newest location, QT Melbourne, is “perfectly groomed and immaculately accessorised”, it “shimmers within the high-end fashion district of Australia’s most creatively charged city”. ( Guests find that play, discovery, modernity, fascination and surprise are complementary, and for non-guests, Melbourne is be all the more enviably glamorous for it. However, this luxury project wasn’t as effortless as its mantra of “…Dress up and play”. Genius design headed up by Shelley Indyk of Indyk Architects and thoughtful collaborative planning made this project a reality, and JEB couldn’t be more proud to be part of the process and the result.

A main feature in the 197 stunning suites are bathrooms walls constructed of opaque, textured glass panels in industrial metal frames, rather than a traditional gypsum wall with tiled surfaces. These partitions glow under the striking light fixtures and ground the overall room’s design. The JEB Custom Projects team developed a bespoke solution with Indyk that references European warehouses and cafes of the early twentieth century. The original brief was to replicate this strong aesthetic in steel, however, as the partition was to be used both as a wall and door, designed to look like one surface, weight was a serious issue. To bring this project in on time and within budget, as well as to promote the rolling capabilities, JEB felt that aluminium was the best choice. The aluminium variation is about half the weight of a steel counterpart and allowed JEB to provide an extended warranty for the product, as the partitions won’t be strained with extended use.

In order to substitute the metals, we needed to ensure our aluminum partitions convincingly looked like steel in the detailing, so we modified several aspects of our typical manufacturing process to achieve this. In the steel originals, the frames were a result of necessity; the glass panel sizes were restricted due to manufacturing abilities at the time. Bold looking frames weren’t an aesthetic choice, but a functional one, holding in the small panes of glass. To replicate the details that convince the eye of the nostalgia, we welded all the joints, which certainly is not necessary with this material but would achieve the forged steel look. We also increased the corner radius of the frames from 0.5mm to 2mm to give the worn-in sentiment. Another incident where we flipped our typical procedure was when considering the colour and texture. Old steel windows and doors have a mottled, rough colour quality, yet our aluminium is very smooth and sleek. To match this detailing, the frames were manufactured and welded first and then received a powder coating, letting the colour get in all the joints and gaps, emulating the raw originals.

Each frame holds 3 panels of glass, which also were selected to suit the industrial look. However, finding a way to keep the walls private and elegantly integrate a basin mirror were challenges we had to solve. Standard patterned glass is still quite translucent, and given that this was a bathroom, privacy was absolutely essential. To improve the opaque quality, the back side of the glass panels were acid etched to provide a second texture and impairment of vision, without blocking the light from moving between the bathroom and living space. Innovative treatments to the flat side of the glass also provided a unique solution to the second issue. A mirror was required over the basin, and rather than affix the mirror to the glass and metal wall, JEB cleverly treated the glass panel with a mirror finish to incorporate this function directly into the partition. The lighting design in the bathrooms is another strong feature. By developing smart solutions for the glass functionality, nothing distracts from the gorgeous glowing fixtures and the room overall is well lit, private, and stunning.

During this project, JEB’s head office in Hong Kong was relocated to a new showroom which allowed for a partitions workshop with a state-of-the-art 3D printer where the industrial design team could develop, print, test, and revise in rapid design sprints. All the wishes of the designer could be addressed in an agile manner, typically rare when dealing with metal manufacturing. The design, production and fabrication for the QT Hotel products all occurred in Hong Kong with our trusted suppliers and capable in-house team. As an added consideration, each room’s partition system was packed in its own box, minimising the complexity of installation and aiding in the speed of the work – ultimately keeping the builder’s’ costs as low as possible. A personal walk through with the architect and builder was initiated by JEB after completion to debrief on the result so that our product and service can be continually improved.

With the QT Hotel Perth underway, JEB is incredibly excited to be continuing to customise our partitions and high end architectural finishes for hospitality applications. Through the collaborative effort of our in-house Custom Projects teams with architects, builders and interior designers, a gorgeous result that is functional, high quality and modern is always the result.

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Image by QT hotels

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