By Chamindra Warusawitharane | Photography by Varuna Gomis
The Rocell bathware concept centre resembles a warmly lit lantern at night enticing customers to explore its living space. This corner block site that borders the Nawala – Narahenpita road and the Jasmine road provides an ideal setting for a display unit. “Converting an existing car showroom service centre, to a Rocell bathware concept centre; an elegant and stylish living space, that would stimulate and inspire visitors, was a challenge”, comments Architect Chinthaka Wickramage. Tasked with this challenge Archt Chinthaka and Archt Nileeka Senarath set out to create a neutral background to illuminate in contrast the colours and patinas of Rocell tiles and bathware accessories. Thus, creating a platform for an authentic bathroom setting to entice customers.
The original design concept for creating a complete bathroom environment came from the Italian interior designer Simone Cagnazzo. Archt Chinthaka and Archt Nileeka strived for a harmonious blend of this design concept and the building scope provided to them.
A stone and pebble courtyard shaded by replanted ‘Kumbuk’ trees leads to the Rocell bathware concept centre, enveloped by a glass façade. The double height glazing that creates the façade performs the dual role of captivating the attention of passers by and preventing unnecessary lighting during the day. The old showroom opened up only from one side of the road. The Architects opened up the showroom from two sides, opting for maximum visibility. Part of the existing mezzanine floor was removed at the entrance area to create a spacious double height entry to ensure a spacious and comfortable live experience for customers to indulge in.
The wall, floor and the ceiling combine to form a reflective ambiance with grey gloss mirror like floor tiles in shades of black, white and grey, burnished perforated metal ceilings and neutral grey walls. “We used basically neutral material to create a platform to showcase Rocell products,” affirmed Archt Nileeka. Illuminated by generous amounts of sunlight during the day and by artificial light at night the concept centre creates an effervescent atmosphere. The light reflected by the sleek floor and the ceiling accentuates the products on display. To add warmth to the otherwise cool ambiance of the display unit, Archt Chinthaka and Archt Nileeka introduced a ladder like Kumbuk timber staircase and timber handrail tops.
The Architects faced their biggest challenge in trying to centrally air condition the spacious volume. The old structure of the building restricted the use of horizontal AC ducting with its low headroom and lower level mezzanine floor. To overcome this the Architects resolved to take cool air, from upper floor horizontal ducts vertically down, along the existing upper floor columns. To diffuse and blow cool air to lower levels, the mezzanine floor slab was punched. The resultant vertical AC ducts were sheathed in gypsum board panels, painted in jet-black forming columns.
Principal Architect: Archt Chinthaka Wickramage AIA (SL)
Project Architect: Archt Nileeka Senarath AIA (SL)
Consultants: Chinthaka Wickramage Associates
Architectural Assistants: Pavithra Bulathsinghala, Samantha Chandani,Krishantha Siriwardene
Consultant Quantity Surveyor: Sunanda Gnansiri A I QS (SL)
Consultant Structural Engineer: Prasantha Pieris C Eng, MIE (SL)
Bathware Display Units Concept: Simone Cagnazzo
Civil Contractor: Pasalka Buiders & Decorators
Client: Rocell Bathware