Carpet design brief
Was developed in a collaborative manner, making way for a very high level of design integration between claddings, furniture and fittings.
Key carpet requirements:
- First Class Lounge… quality to luxury look and feel
- Being New Zealand… wool fibre
- Functionality… high-traffic including workstations, multi-use food and beverage, continual use
- Aesthetic contribution… to a place of rest… time-out from travel… possible NZ/Pacific orientation.
Early design rationale
Think of a person moving through an airport and the amount of signage and graphic information visually passing by. This sense and movement often accentuated by repeating floor patterns.
- No repeating pattern
- No hard-edge graphic
- Subdued colour palette.
Design issue 1
Chilcott’s concept, based on a Pacific tapa influence, did consist of a repeating pattern approximately 1 metre by 1 metre. Understandable as a design, repeat is a conventional ingredient for patterned Axminster carpet.
The solution was to deconstruct the repeat by increasing scale to 4 by 4 metres. The repeat eventually finished as a massive 4 metres by 12 metres. The success of this type of scale increase and composition properties was supported by previous experience with sculptor Bing Dawe.
Carpet selection and production method
- Had to be and look high-quality cut pile. Decided on a 64oz to 72oz 100% wool cut pile. A hand-tuft option was considered, but too expensive.
- Manufacturing method had to be capable of processing digital information to cover 48 square metres in one repeat. A hand-tuft option was a consideration, but too expensive.
- Two choices. A woven Axminster or tufted CYP (Computerised yarn placement) also known as Tapistron.
- Tapistron was selected. The decision was made on the basis of how each process would resolve Chilcott’s design or how his design was going to be effected or changed by the manufacturing process. The Tapistron manufactures at a higher definition than Axminster and uses a finer yarn with a lower twist, producing similarities to soft edge high-quality hand-tuft, which responds well to the artist’s design. By contrast, an Axminster using thicker yarns produces a more pixelated look to the pattern.
Final carpet specification
- 64oz 100% New Zealand wool cut pile.
- Manufacturing method CYP Tapistron using six custom colours.
Design issue 2
Making the 48 square metre repeat not repeat across 200 square metres. The architect’s initial intention was to have the floor-covering resemble more a series of area rugs giving a domestic edge, rather than the appearance of a commercially-fitted carpet. We supported this by cutting and editing the 48 square metres of digital design information throughout the floor plan during roll planning. Prior to this, Carpets Inter had manufactured a 4 metre by 6 metre trial carpet for us to benchmark from.
The Tapistron machine, arguably the most sophisticated broadloom tufting machine of its time, was set up to receive pattern information based on the historical design culture of the Axminster and small repeating patterns. The computer diskettes did not have the capacity to supply the digital information for the large repeat. The problem was overcome by wiring a computer hard-drive directly into the machine.
Overall design layout
From the artist’s original concept, derived loosely from Pacific tapa then scaled to further abstraction, an interesting coincidence occurred – the process of laying out this large repeat related to a similar practice of New Zealand whariki and Pacific tapa use, bringing us full circle to the artist’s original intention.
A final layout was produced for sign-off prior to production. A full digital presentation was produced for sign-off prior to production. This same layout gave clear directions for installation per location. Carpet was installed with underlay.
The First Class Lounge in Sydney was awarded ‘Best commercial interior in Australia 2001'.
Eleven years on, the Sydney lounge is unchanged. The carpet has maintained its appearance, still contributing to the overall decorative scheme. Most important, staff and patrons continue to enjoy using this well-designed, unique space.
Client: Air New Zealand
Architect: Noel Lane Architects – Noel Lane, Mark Klever and Matt Brew.
Artist: Gavin Chilcott.
carpet prior to install