The front gates to this Sydney suburban block of flats were looking very much the worse for wear so the owners decided to replace them with a set of Plaza Art Deco Gates. The Plaza style is our most popular design with its classic Art Deco fan motif complimenting the style of many older buildings built in the 1930’s and 40’s.
The old gates were heavily rusted so it was decided to spend a little bit more and make the new gates using stainless steel. This will ensure a very long service life with minimum maintenance.
Firstly the design of each gate was drawn onto the setup bench and each part cut and fixed in position. Every part in the Plaza design is different. The cutting and bending of parts and setting up prior to welding everything together is a time consuming process.
The photo on the right shows the assembled double entry gates with their support brackets ready for painting. There was another single entry gate built for the side entrance of the building. This was larger than the double entry gates so it was made separately.
Over the years there had been damage done to the brickwork in the fence of the building which left broken mortar and loose bricks in the side gate support column. These had been patched in a less than satisfactory manner. Before the new gate could be attached polyester masonary adhesive was injected into the damaged areas to stabilise the broken bricks and provide a solid support for the new gate.
Below shows the old gate compared to the new Plaza gate.
The double entry main gates were installed with a minimum of effort as the brickwork was in a much better condition. Because of the age of the bricks it was decided to use Chemset studs to attach the gate support rails to the bricks. These studs put no localised stresses on the bricks unlike dynabolts which can crack old bricks if over tightened.
A house in Marrickville had a timber security side gate to stop access down the side of the house. Being timber it was also impossible to see down the side of the house or see someone who may be wanting to get past the gate.
The owner decided she wanted a steel security gate made that had a similar design to the existing front gate of the property. It would also allow her to see who may be wanting to enter down the side of the house.
A dead lock was needed to fit into the steel support rails so the gate could not be opened without the key.
The existing gate (shown on the left) was used as a basis to develop the full height door design as shown above.
Fitting the dead lock to the steel SHS tubing required inserting 12mm steel plates into the 1.6mm walls of the steel tube so threaded holes could be cut to secure the lock catch attaching screws.
A recent project involved the design of Art Deco folding security panels to secure the alcoholic assets of a CBD Sydney bar. The Reagh Bar at the Castlereagh Boutique Hotel needed to leave their bar stock on the shelves behind the bar rather than having to put it all away each night and re-stock the following evening.
The Art Deco era Castlereagh Hotel opened on September 12th, 1927 and was built by the New South Wales Masonic Club. It was the first reinforced concrete building in the Sydney CBD and, at the time, was the tallest building in Sydney with 12 floors. Its construction set the precedent for future CBD buildings. It has been the base for the Masonic Club ever since and they wanted something sympathetic to the Art Deco era of the hotel for the folding security panel design.
Our PLAZA style Art Deco design was selected as the optimum style for the folding panels. The design brief was for security panels that could be easily locked and opened and not be too obtrusive. A set of six centre opening Art Deco style panels were designed that satisfied the brief while keeping the overall look light and airy. Clear polycarbonate panels were attached to the back of the folding panels to prevent access to the the bottle stock through the steel bars when the panels were locked closed.
The following photos illustrate the construction of the folding panels. To keep the visual impact of the bars to a minimum 20mm wide framing was chosen. To avoid having two adjacent 20mm vertical bars together making 40mm wide vertical sections 20x10mm solid steel verticals were used which presented a combined 20mm width overall. This made attaching the clear polycarbonate back panels difficult. Since each panel required forty screws to attach to the frames they had to be individually drilled and tapped into the solid 20x10mm sections to accommodate the fastening screws.
The geometry of the six folding panels was crucial and they had to be millimetre perfect so they would meet in the middle of the bar section and lock together.
The top and bottom sections of the frames were hollow 20x20mm SHS steel and only 1.6mm thick so 12mm thick sections had to be fitted into them so the pivots had something solid to screw into.
(Click on an image for a larger view.)
Fitting 12mm steel plates into the top and bottom frame sections to attach pivots
Vertical bar section hinges showing open/closed positions.
To keep the overall look light and airy the clear panels needed to screw directly to the back of the 10mm wide vertical bar sections. This required drilling and threading for 240 screws. To simplify construction the panel operation geometry was done before the design was welded into them.
Drilling and tapping holes for attaching clear polycarbonate panels to frame
Checking the geometry of the folding panels before fitting the design
Once the panel folding geometry had been confirmed the PLAZA design was jigged into place in the frames and welded in position.
Laying out the design in a jig before welding everything together
Completed side with design in test frame to double check geometry
The clear polycarbonate panels were attached after all the welding was completed. To accurately drill the screw holes in the panels dummy screws with sharpened heads were fitted into the screw positions and the polycarbonate was hit lightly with a hammer over each screw point to indicate where the holes should be drilled. Preliminary testing of the panel operation is shown in the video below.
Fitting polycarbonate sheets to back of frames
All polycarbonate panels fitted and fitted to test frame to check alignment
The folding panels are supported and slide inside tracking sections at the top and bottom. The bottom tracking can be removed when the panels are stowed open on each side. When closed the panels are secured together with a pivoting drop bolt. The operation of the panels is shown in the video at the end of the post.
A custom concave table base was required on which a large black framed mirror could be mounted. The client wanted a unique display table for their optometrist business. A sturdy design was developed for the base section that blended well with the mirror while maintaining an elegant double concave surface on the base.
White LEDs around the inside edge of the mirror frame were also fitted to illuminate the display area. The table base was constructed of timber and was finished in a high gloss black enamel.
To make the concave surfaces an intricate timber framework was built on which the plywood surfaces could be attached. To keep the weight to a minimum sections of ply were cut from the ply panel components that were not structurally required. This had the added benefit of allowing access inside the base to ensure good adhesive bonding of the edges of the concave surfaces.
Routing the curved profiles for the support structure
Completed internal framework prior to cladding
First concave ply section attached
Cladding in 5mm bendy ply completed
The LED strips around the inside edge of the mirror were powered by small battery packs fitted in recesses under the mirror in the base section. The LEDs were divided into two sections with a battery pack fitted either end of the table base.
Many older style homes and units have outward opening bathroom windows which makes it difficult to install suitable security bars. The solution we offered a client was to install them on the inside of the bathroom windows.
Interior security bar installations present their own set of difficulties not least of which is being able to open and close the windows which are now behind the bars.
These particular windows have a long arm which needed to be able to swing up from the locked position and then pivot out to push the window open. This was achieved by using a cross motif in the design which allows the opening arm to be manipulated through the open areas of the bars.
An upstairs verandah in a Sydney terrace had a bare brick opening in its side wall which the owner decided needed some louvre shutters. The owner had some discarded louvre doors available and we were approached to see if they could be recycled and used to make a set of louvre shutters for the wall opening.
The louvre doors were cut to size and fitted with arch sections which matched a timber frame that was built to fit inside the wall opening. Once the window frame had been painted it was fitted into the wall opening and fixed in position with black epoxy filler. Epoxy was used because the wall opening was not square and the arched top not a perfect circle arc resulting in clearance variations between the bricks and the wooden window frame.
As can be seen from the photo below the addition of the decorative window shutters was a major improvement to the overall look of the home.
Custom Japanese style pillar lights for driveway entrance
A recent project required the design of a pair of custom Japanese style Pillar lights for the entrance to a rural estate. Commercially available pillar lights were too small as the sandstone pillars were over two metres high and 800mm square. To simplify constructing a complete electrical fitting (which includes electrical safety standards compliance and rating) a commercial fitting was selected which was of a suitable style and construction that could be adapted to a larger fitting.
The new Japanese style pillar lights are essentially a lampshade that fits around the commercial fitting. The base section is fastened to the sandstone top of the pillar around the commercial fitting. The lightweight metal roof section is attached to the top of the metal frame of the commercial fitting which has had its glass shade removed.
Below details the steps in building the fitting.
Steel frame of the pillar light. This will be fixed to the pillar top
Translucent acrylic windows fitted to the metal base frame
Marking out shape of the galvanised iron roof
Folding the roof cutout section with sheet metal bender
Completed top roof sections ready for painting
View of the base set around the commercial light fitting
Custom pillar lights and stainless steel entrance gates with Art Deco palm leaf motif
These front entrance gates incorporate a stylised palm leaf design that DecoWorks produced for the entrance driveway to a rural estate which was lined with mature palm trees. The design also reflected the diminishing perspective of the palm trees as seen looking down the driveway.
Due to the size of the sandstone pillars custom light fittings also had to be designed to compliment the gate installation. Commercially available fittings were too small for the 800mm square pillars which made building the large light fittings a necessity.
The front entrance gates were constructed using stainless steel to ensure a long and corrosion free life. Adjustable stainless steel hinges were used to compensate for any construction and installation irregularities and also allow for future adjustment if necessary.
The custom pillar lights were constructed around a commercially available pillar light to simplify the requirements of making an electrical fitting. The custom fitting is essentially a *lampshade* fitted over the top of the commercial fitting. Details of their construction can be found here.
Silhouette of front entrance gates with palm leaf motif