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Woven carpets at Balalaika Protea Hotel

by Tania Wannenburg
Crossley Balalaika

Crossley Carpets, a company that specialises in woven Axminster and Wilton carpets for the top end of the residential market and for custom-designed contracts, recently installed 1 300m2 of carpeting at the Balalaika Protea Hotel in Sandton.

The design team of Darley Interior Architectural Design (DIAD), were asked to “introduce a sense of new energy into various spaces, to create an uplifted character for the hotel while remaining true to its well-known reputation as “A little bit of Country in the heart of Sandton”.

“This adage, along with the beautiful gardens of the Balalaika, were in essence the spark that inspired DIAD’s Design Concept,” commented Shiree Darley, Chief Executive at DIAD.

Entering from the Main Reception Lobby, ones’ path is led most directly through to the terrace and the beautiful flourishing gardens. In an effort to integrate the interior and the exterior, a more botanical feel was introduced into the lobby through bright, uplifting colours of duck-egg blue and pistachio green and patterned florals in both fabrics and the custom-designed carpeting.

“Simultaneously, DIAD wanted to ensure that the style of chic country became part of the mix. A punchy wow-factor was achieved through the use of black combined with gold-leaf and yellow,” said Darley.

Crossley’s MasterWeave carpet system was installed in the hotel’s pre-assembly areas, the main conferencing rooms as well as the passageways in the hotel. The company’s luxurious bar, referred to as “Lords Bar”, and the reception area were fitted with Crossley’s Straight weave system.

“In layman’s terms, the MasterWeave carpet system is custom-made according to client specifications – it’s like a textile puzzle where you can fit all the pieces together,” explained Elke Oellermann, Branch Manager at Crossley’s Johannesburg branch, who was involved with the project.

“The feel of the Lords Bar was destined to maintain its English club, cigar lounge atmosphere and the custom-designed carpet was a key aspect in achieving this,” commented Darley.

The MasterWeave system includes quantification, design, production, installation and maintenance as well as all the planning phases required.

Benefits of the MasterWeave package include optimum control of the carpet contract from specifying to installation and beyond; cost efficiency through careful planning and management of resources; improved co-ordination and communication between the various role players; quality installation with minimum wastage and joins; as well as a maintenance plan on offer designed to protect the carpet investment.

Crossley tailored the colours of the carpeting for the Balalaika Protea Hotel. “All of the carpet colours were selected to coordinate with the overall interior design scheme,” commented Oellermann.

The carpets in the conference areas were dyed various shades of grey, the carpets in Lords Bar are a specific tone of red and shades of blue were used for the carpeting in the reception area.

The carpet installation was part of a complete revamp at the Balalaika Protea Hotel. Everything from the wallpaper and furniture to the curtains were changed. Completion of the 1 300m2 project took approximately 8 months, which is a very short time frame for a project of this magnitude. When Crossley partners with designers and specifiers, they are involved in the project from the very beginning right the way through to producing specialised maintenance training manuals post installation.

Working with the fantastic design team of Shiree Darley, Sarah-Jane Forman, Nicola Heger and Tanja Maric from Diad Design the concept was borne out of initial sketches and images. Our in-house design team then recreates these concepts digitally on the computer. The MasterWeave system has the capability of producing large pattern repeats and also allows for extremely elaborate patterning. The main focus for this theme is a repeating carpet panel symbolising a stylised sail shape in seven colours.

Designs are then presented to the client, in this case Balalaika General Manager, Joerg Zwinscher and his team, as conceptual printouts or electronic proofs. Different colourways can be provided at this stage until all parties are happy. Before commencing weaving, hand samples are produced using either standard or custom-coloured yarns to ensure the digital creation is matched with actual fibres.

“In order to create a continuity throughout the hotel – which was a key concern for both DIAD and the Balalaika – the same base colours were used in all areas where carpeting was replaced, with a couple of key colours changing in the area. This allowed for the development of individual creations for each different area, emphasising different colour theming while establishing a holistic feel,” said Darley.

“As you can see, quite a lot goes into the planning and execution of a carpeting installation of this magnitude,” comments Oellermann.

The benefit of woven carpets

Woven carpets have always been acknowledged as one of the most beautiful and durable soft floorcovering option. Not only do they offer unlimited colour and design options as well as underfoot comfort and safety, but they also provide improved acoustic and thermal insulation, reduced maintenance frequency, warmth and ambience as well as good moisture buffering.

How the weaving process works:

To briefly explain the weaving process: a carpet consists of pile yarn, which is the visible part of the carpet, and backing materials, which are used to secure the pile and stabilise the carpet. Woven carpets are constructed by the interlocking of warp threads (lengthwise) with weft threads (crosswise) in such a way that tufts of carpet yarn are secured between them, row by row.

Each tuft of carpet is individually placed and, in theory, could be made an individual colour, so the pattern potential for woven carpets is vast. Backing and surface are created simultaneously during weaving and, once the back-sizing process is complete, the carpet is dimensionally stable. It cannot delaminate in the way that a tufted carpet might.

Crossley is regularly involved in projects where creativity, appearance retention, aesthetics and dimensional stability are prime factors. Their installations include everything from casinos and cruise ships to hotels and homesteads, restaurants, clubs and conference venues.

For further information: 031 910 6500 / crossleysales@crossleysa.com / http://www.crossleysa.com/

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