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Article Date: 12th January 2017

Formica - VIVIX® Façade Injects a Burst of Colour into the UK’s First Pop-Up Village

Lewisham Pop-Up Village - Exterior Facade - Facade Panels

Formica - Lewisham Pop-up Village

With 50,000 London households living in temporary accommodation[1] and the number of properties coming on to the market falling for six months in a row, the housing crisis is more apparent than ever. Lewisham Council is the first Borough in London and the UK to create and implement a practical solution to house homeless families currently living in B&Bs with its Lewisham Pop-up Village. Designed and built by internationally-renowned architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), the project specified VIVIX® by Formica Group for the captivating exterior façade.

Helping to answer a desperate need for housing in London, the architectural practice wanted to create an environment for families that was welcoming, had character and in true RSHP flair, injected a sense of vitality. Associate Partner, Andrew Partridge and Senior Architectural Assistant, Lucie Olivier at RSHP shared their reasoning behind specifying VIVIX® by Formica Group to achieve these goals: “The most attractive thing about the VIVIX® range was the fact we were not compromising on quality for the sake of style.

"The VIVIX® range offered a substantial colour selection to cherry-pick from, which made it easier to meet the client’s request for a vibrant colour palette". Spectrum Yellow and Vibrant Green were selected for the panels with the digital and screen print service, Younique® by Formica Group, being used to provide the Pink and Orange colours. In addition, VIVIX® by Formica Group’s Carnaval was used to bring a bright red hue to the interconnecting stairwells.

Formica - Lewisham Pop-up VillageOlivier continues: "The fact that Formica Group offered robust colour samples made designing the façade an easy and comfortable process. These samples were made accessible to us through the extremely helpful Specification Account Managers from Formica Group. They were hands on from the start of the designing process all the way to the installation itself, allowing us to render some incredibly accurate sketches to forecast the end result."

The Lewisham Pop-Up Village is a structure that fits 24 two bedroom homes, each exceeding the London space standard by 5m[2] (currently 70m[3]), including effective storage space in each home. With ceilings as high as that of a Victorian home (9ft in height), RSHP needed to ensure that large enough formats were available for the exterior 15m height cladding, with minimal waste. The VIVIX® facade panels are manufactured in Europe according to the ISO 9001 standard and have, under the Formica Group Life Cycle Assessment LCA, minimal impact on the environment. Partridge comments: "For any project we work on, the materials we select must have sustainable attributes attached to them.

"We received the VIVIX® panels precisely pre-cut which meant we did not have to size down much of the sheets on site, significantly reducing the waste produced", Partridge continues. "Any cutting that had to be done on site was minimal, so the waste could be recycled there and then, and at a fraction of the typical price attached to large formats. This lifted a big burden from our shoulders and ensured a sustainable installation process."

Formica - Lewisham Pop-up VillageAs concerns are finally rising from politicians over the serious need for housing and the lack of space available in London to build upon[4], the concept of utilising brownfield land could offer the answer. However, due to brownfield being previously developed land that often is contaminated with low levels of hazardous chemicals, it makes building on it less desirable[5]. As a result, the brownfield land available in the capital has been described as a "red herring" that can be costly and sometimes less environmentally friendly to build on than greenfield, but here is where the pop up concept falls under the limelight. The Pop-up Village has been developed to have a lifespan of 60 years, be deployed several times during this period and be reconfigured as the council deems necessary in the future. The "portable" nature of the Lewisham Pop-Up Village allows the council to make use of vacant brownfield land while longer-term projects are being finalised[6], effectively utilising the space London does have in excess.

For these plans to be successfully executed, the materials specified have to withstand impact over time; with the low weight of the VIVIX® panels, it makes transporting the units in the future easy to handle. The panels are durable, impact and weather resistant, and can prolong the lifetime of a building. In the case of Lewisham Pop-up village, they can help provide a home for generations to come.

Made in Britain, VIVIX® panels for the Lewisham Pop-up Village were manufactured by Formica Group at its UK manufacturing plant, reducing on material transportation and the overall project carbon footprint.

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