The Bridgewater Hall is Manchester’s internationally acclaimed concert venue which hosts over 250 musical performances a year, spanning a wide range of musical genres including classical music, rock pop and jazz. It is also now the iconic home to three orchestras: the Hallé, the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata. The auditorium seats some 2400 people in which the colossal Marcussen pipe organ takes pride of place, one of the largest in Britain attracting audiences from far afield. The Bridgewater Hall also hosts conferences and events.
The popular venue, which was officially opened in 1996 by Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh was specially designed for optimum acoustic performance. It had been a new-build project on the site of a former bus station and car park, which had taken three years to construct. Contemporary in design, it also has other notable features to support its acoustic aspirations.
Unusually, The Bridgewater Hall is neither concrete nor steel-framed, but is mostly formed from solid, reinforced concrete, moulded and cast like a vast sculpture. This gives it the acoustic ideal of enormous density and mass. The remarkable roof appears to hover, weightless, above the building. One of the most fascinating aspects of the Hall’s construction is that the entire structure floats free of the ground on almost three hundred, earthquake-proof isolation bearings or giant springs, so there is no rigid connection between the 22,500 ton building and its foundations. This ensures the Hall’s carefully designed acoustic is protected from all outside noise and vibration.
As The Bridgewater Hall is now 22 years old, the time had come to replace the floor matting to three of its entrance areas, namely: The Public Main Entrance, The Box Office Entrance and The Artists’ Entrance.
The House Manager for The Bridgewater Hall turned to the venue’s janitorial product supplier, Cutler Cleaning Supplies, for a suitable solution, who in turn recommended COBA Flooring as one the UK’s leading entrance matting manufacturers and suppliers.
Cutler Cleaning Supplies based in Cheshire, is a member of Jangro, the largest network of independent janitorial distributors in the UK and Ireland, and COBA Flooring was pleased to support them in delivery of this specialist entrance matting project.
A key part of the brief was to replace the old matting with a similar type of product, that would withstand the wear and tear of high volume footfall (over 23,000 visitors on average per annum use the main entrance), while also complementing the high interior standards and aesthetic design of the venue. Plan.a aluminium entrance matting manufactured by COBA Flooring in Leicestershire was chosen and subsequently supplied via Cutler Cleaning Supplies.
COBA Flooring’s Account Manager – North, Ashley Knight, carried out several site visits and was instrumental in providing technical support and advice, along with COBA Flooring’s sales and customer service teams. The dimensions of the three entrance areas were measured and the matting was custom-made to order. Each of these already had recessed matwells. COBA then carried out the installation of the Plan.a system.
One of the main challenges of the installation was the tight timescales – the matting had to be installed swiftly to ensure completion before the evening performance. The installation involved removing the old matting and carrying out some sub-floor preparation to ensure the surface area was level. Plan.a with Alba (nylon) carpet and PVC scrapers was then installed in each area. The Bridgewater Hall opted for a closed construction surface design.
“COBA only had a very restricted time to fit the entrance matting in three different locations, so the pressure was immense but still COBA Flooring’s team managed to deliver on time and with great precision,“ says Armelle Rainjonneau, House Manager – The Bridgewater Hall. “They were a very good team, professional, conscientious, attentive and reactive to our business needs.”
Ms Rainjonneau also added, “I have no issues in recommending COBA Flooring to other organisations. Any concerns or worries were dealt with efficiently and professionally prior to the installation. Multiple site visits had been necessary to fulfil our specific requirements and this was kindly accommodated by COBA Flooring’s regional manager and his team. We experienced good all-round service and we are very pleased with the finished result.”
Plan.a is a heavy-duty aluminium entrance matting system that is custom-made to order by COBA Flooring in Leicestershire.
It is ideal for any building subjected to high pedestrian footfall, and therefore is a popular choice for venues such as The Bridgewater Hall. Plan.a is also the ‘entrance matting system of choice’ for other sectors, such as retail, offices, hotels, schools and colleges, and public buildings.
COBA’s Plan.a is available in either an open or closed surface construction, depending on the preferred method of cleaning, in either ‘standard’ height or ‘low profile’.
There are a variety of surface options that can be selected in conjunction with aluminium scraping bars:
It is possible to combine one or more insert materials, as well as bespoke logos. A range of finishing accessories is also available, for a professional, high-quality result. It is recommended that Plan.a is installed in recessed matwells where possible. COBA works with flooring contractors throughout the UK and also offers its own installation service.
For further details and technical specifications about Plan.a, please see the product page on this website.