Project Review – Sasria Building, office relocation

by Tania Wannenburg
belgo sasria


SNOW Consultants is a multi-disciplinary practice that offers professional services in the disciplines of architecture, urban design, master planning, interior design and related areas of expertise. The firm, previously known as the Nel Wilreker Partnership, was reincorporated as SNOW Consultants when Anton Siebrits joined the group in 2007.

The practice has a track record spanning more than 50 years.

SNOW has highly developed skills in handling large, complex and unusual projects for the private and public sectors, functioning within the divergent and sensitive parameters of budget discipline, quality, speed of performance, and the social, economic and ecological considerations of a project.

Excellence Through Partnership is a long-standing SNOW credo that epitomises the philosophy of the company, and this approach was highly significant on this project where the practice partnered with LOOK Architecture & Design.

Julian Adimulam was the LOOK director on this project. Lemay Construction was appointed as the main building contractor and they did the flooring installation and appointed all the subcontractors. The flooring was installed by Combined Flooring.

LOOK Architecture & Design was started in 2007 by Deon Ceronio and Julian Adimulam, and operates out of their studio in Cresta, Johannesburg. Deon and Julian are professionals with approximately 15 years of collective experience in architecture and interiors in the commercial and retail sectors and are Corporate Interior Specialists.

“We believe our success is due to the motto which LOOK has adopted, We were created to create, so let’s not waste any time,” says Julian. “This statement is true for us because, while we are proficient in the area of creative designing we also understand that everyone on this planet has the innate ability to be creative and we all physically touch design every day, from the cars we drive to the light bulbs we switch on at night.”

‘SASRIA wanted to create a more youthful culture in the process of moving. Our job was to design their new office space in a way that would reflect a more youthful culture balanced with a sophisticated corporate design language,” says Julian.

SNOW was appointed as Principal Agent and Architects for the project and through its association with LOOK provided the space planning, interior design and the selection of the finishes and fixtures. The SNOW-LOOK association also project managed a broad range of direct subcontractors on behalf of the client. CP de Leeuw Quantity Surveyors and Spoormaker Engineering Consultants were also part of the professional team.

The professional team was appointed in early January on condition that practical completion be achieved by the end of March. Due to procurement compliance requirements for the appointment of contractors, the date was reviewed to the end of April 2013. The team proudly confirmed that all project objectives were met on time and within budget.

Anton Siebrits, was the director in charge from SNOW Consultants, with Cas Nel acting as project architect. Commenting on the project, Anton said, “Since Sasria is a State-owned company, all stages of the project went through a comprehensive procurement process. Due consideration had to be given to budget and performance criteria for the technology and finishes specifications.”

The Sasria SOC Ltd (Sasria) Building in Illovo, Johannesburg was an office relocation project for this State-owned insurance company. This project entailed an area of 2 200m² with extra sublet spaces bringing the overall total to 2 600m² – mostly of openplan office design.

“This was a prestigious project. The brief was to design a space with an A-grade facility in mind. With it being a fast-track project, a sober yet innovative approach was required,” says Anton. “The finishes needed to combine durability, quality and longevity, coupled with excellent appearance retention.”

“Space requirement versus the reality of the project differed because the building gave more space than expected; the spread-out areas were in good proportion so it was great to work with, and the walkways were also generous,” he says.

Belgotex Commercial

The Belgotex Fifth Avenue, Everest and Equinox ranges were chosen for this project, and the professional team worked closely with Charleen Robbertze from Belgotex. A very linear approach to the floor was taken, using linear design patterns that assist people, particularly visitors, to find their way around, bringing with it elements of sophistication. Sasria has young – largely Generation Y – employees to cater for, so a focus on simplicity worked well for the environment where a fun aspect from a youthful perspective was needed.

Julian says, “Choosing the Equinox range specifically, in combination with the Everest range, meant these two blended well, enabling the design to break the monotony.”

“Also Hartsfield, a gorgeous luxury vinyl tile from the Belgotex Vinyl range, was installed in public spaces and high- traffic areas, where it was used for the floor and up the walls as well. It is easy to install, the durability is superb and the look is very real – it looks and feels like real wood. Acoustics and maintenance on the chosen products were a great choice for us.”

“The special features or unique properties on the carpets were the patterning; the SDX ranges had to complement each other, and we used two colours from the Equinox range (Leo and Capricorn), and Diesel from the Fifth Avenue range.” he says.

“Modular usage for this unique installation is where the design innovation came in, with selection of colour. The colourways were installed in bands and differing ratios, with darker colours on the higher ratio, lighter in lower ratio.”

An element of craft and Julian’s creativity had to be used to match the product, to provide the mathematics involved, and to determine what stock was available due to time constraints.

The Belgotex Commercial carpets selected are suitable for very-heavy-traffic areas; Leo and Capricorn from the Equinox range are tufted multi-scroll loop-pile carpets made from 100% Stainproof SDX fibre, which is a nylon fibre solution-dyed for extreme conditions.

The Everest range was used for the boardrooms. This is a Heavy Commercial, tufted textured loop-pile carpet constructed using Econyl yarn which is manufactured from post-industrial and post-consumer nylon 6 waste, making it 100% sustainable with no loss in performance.

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 finish is hardwearing and durable, and their varied stitch heights add tactile appeal and elegance to any space.

Why Belgotex Commercial?

Julian: “The service you receive as designers and architects is uncomprimising – something I have certainly experienced over the years – and their products are of a very high calibre.”

Anton: “I’m in the habit of using Belgotex products because of the level of service and attention they afford. Their responsiveness to special requirements takes a significant burden off you. Their reputation is exemplary and you know they will deliver within reason to get the product to contractor and to site. It’s a nobrainer, especially on a fast-track job like this with a minimum margin for error.”

Favourite products?

“From a cost-effectiveness viewpoint and for large area installations I would have to say that Metro is a great range to work with and a change from Berber Point,” Julian says. “Metro gives a sophisticated corporate feel like a pinstripe suit. Colour ranges in Metro are great to play with.

One can use it in sheet form to create magnificent patterns. Popular colours are those with a ‘minim’ feel and timeless design. Undertones and earth tones are a good base to work from, setting great mood and tone for the room. It also creates nice interest in waiting areas of companies.”

Describing the project

Let the professionals have the last word!

Anton: “Having a partnership and getting a team working optimally is very rewarding; having the client as an effective part of the team is a major contributor to project success. We had a supportive and informed client that could expedite approvals throughout the organisation. The design team, the partnership and the synergy achieved amongst the professional team and contractors was the ultimate prize.”

Julian: “What we set out to do we achieved in the design. That’s a wonderful feeling, and the client is happy. I agree with Anton on the team. LOOK and SNOW work well together, and SNOW is very efficient in what they do.”

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