Pretoria-based AO Architects Office (Pty) Ltd was started in 2010 by Leon Krüger and André Kriel, who believe that establishing a clear vision and focusing on shared values between clients and designers is the key to their success.

Currently the practice comprises four partners who say they thrive on experience, real skill, genuine talent and open-mindedness, making Architects Office unique in its creative diversity.

The practice comprises Leon Krüger who was professionally trained at the University of Pretoria and obtained his B.Arch degree 15 years ago and André Kriel, who studied at the University of the Orange Free State and obtained his B.Arch degree in 1980. He started his own practice in 1982 and has been a very successful architect since.

The practice’s third partner is Leon’s brother Dewald who studied at the Tshwane University of Technology and graduated in 1999 in architecture. The team is completed by Will van der Watt who studied in Port Elizabeth and graduated in 1997. Regarding the environmental aspects of design, Leon says that it is noticeable that environmental concerns are increasingly prevalent in architecture these days.

“Although we are always looking for an aesthetical approach in our architecture, we are now more driven to implement the environmental properties and quality aspects of our designs. However, if you are considering a ‘green’ building, this must start with the basic principles of design and then implement or integrate the technologies that is suitable for each particular project – including the envelope of the building, fenestration and the orientation of the project,” he says.

How does Architects Office select the products it uses? The client brief and the utilisation of the building are essential components of each project; the products must be able to satisfy all the basic technical and performance requirements.

“Images play a huge role at the design stage, and that’s where FLOORS in Africa catches your eye and encourages you to read more. We are visually orientated and like to see the illustrated projects, and we always page through each issue to see what’s new; we can search for three hours on the Internet to find what we can get in FLOORS in ten minutes!” says Dewald.

The JD Group Financial Services project in Randburg involved the provision of a new 6 000m² head office and call centre (Phase 1), which has four levels of offices and three basement parking levels.

Renovation of the old building, which previously housed the HR training centre and insurance, ADRS and a portion of the financial services operation, was required to provide a JD campus. The requirement was that the basements and courtyards should connect with the old building, which also involved the provision of a bridge.

Architects Office was commissioned to undertake the entire project including the building design, interior design, furniture, art and landscaping. Started in March 2012 and complete in April this year – with the campus renovation completed in September 2012 – this project, Leon says, is the finest project he has ever undertaken, and is a massive benchmark since everything fell under their control.

The brief was to design the building for Gen Y staff, all around 20 years of age, and required open spaces and complete transparency. A hierarchal approach was required in the building, with lower-level staff right at the top of the building and the executive staff on the lower levels.

NMC was the main contractor for this project, and Peter Bates Flooring was the flooring contractor.

Belgotex Commercial Carpeting

The Metro carpet tile range was selected from the Belgotex Commercial sales programme for this project. Metro is a cost-effective solution for any heavy-commercial floorcovering environment, with a unique linear design and an exciting range of nine colourways that provides unsurpassed elegance.

Metro is a 50x50cm structured needlepunch carpet tile using a Stainproof Miracle Polypropylene Fibre and Stainproof Eco blend, with a Resinbac/NexBac eco-backing.

Used in a tessellated fashion, the colours selected for this project were Sky Grey and Real Steel installed at the entrance, starting dark and then fading as the floor progresses.

Adidas and Armini colours from the Belgotex Fifth Avenue range were used in the Boardroom and executive areas, also incorporating a red colour fading effect, and laid in a tessellated network pattern.

Fifth Avenue is a versatile tufted carpet tile range that has been inspired by creating texture within a solid design. These 50cm x 50cm NexBac Eco carpet tiles are manufactured from 100% Stainproof SDX (Solution Dyed Nylon). Following the trends of subtle patterns, and neutral palettes, Fifth Avenue can be used in a variety of different applications.

Their tufted multi-scroll loop pile finishes are hardwearing and durable, and their varied stitch heights add tactile appeal and elegance to any space.

Why Belgotex Commercial?

“They have a vast amount of options in floorcovering materials, and every range is of the highest quality. We also chose Belgotex Commercial because we needed something specific, and their custom-made service met the requirement exactly,” says Leon. “Their service was fantastic, and when we visited their factory we were treated to an amazing showroom experience.”

“The other products we investigated weren’t suited for this building, so Belgotex Commercial won by offering the best range to fit the requirements of the job in hand. And the physical samples of their products were first-class.”

“Also, they explained the product and its performance exactly, and I must say that their representative, Philip Button, who services our library every month, has superb product knowledge,” he says. “This aspect is critical, we can get information online, but the representative must be totally capable with his application knowledge.”

Favourite products?

We have no specific favourites because the whole range provides whatever you may need for the project in hand – carpet, carpet tiles, vinyls and artificial grass – and there is so much access to products it is difficult to have favourites. The grass option is making a big impact, however – it’s really a great product, very innovative.

In the end it’s all about product fit and technical knowledge and the right product range to make the right decisions, and there is an enormous amount of time spent on each aspect of a project – especially on a high-design project such as this.

Architects Office has recently opened another office in Potchefstroom where they have been engaged on both commercial and residential project, including shopping centres.