Forming an important part of a £200m redevelopment, the flagship three building Llys Cadwyn (Chain Court) mixed-use riverside development encompasses office and retail units alongside a state-of-the-art library, café, leisure fitness and community facilities in the heart of Pontypridd.

Owner client, Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council, awarded the design of this eye-catching project to Darnton B3 Architects, who have worked with Willmott Dixon since 2018,
to bring the innovative, ambitious £38m scheme to fruition.

Around 9500m2 of Rockfon acoustic ceiling and wall systems are installed throughout the three building scheme to add a wow factor and help create healthy interiors where people can work, visit, study, socialise and relax.

Architecture that looks and feels good

The facades of two of the buildings are glazed, with those facing the riverside designed with sun-deflecting vertical fins in a mix of warm primary colours from yellow through to orange and red – adding a positive, contemporary accent. The third building sits in contrast to the others with its organic, aardvark curved outer shell clad completely in shimmering zinc tiles, reminiscent of the futuristic Bullring in Birmingham and the Guggenheim in Bilbao.

The twin buildings required high levels of sound absorption due to the predominantly open-plan office interiors on their upper floors. Independent research shows that stress levels are reduced by 27% and focus is increased by 48% by improved acoustics in these environments. The high light reflectance offered by our ceiling systems optimises natural light, aiding wellbeing and helping provide the best working conditions whilst minimising energy usage and costs.

Ensuring the desired Shhh

In the Library, sound control was an obvious specification requirement. Happily, Rockfon ranges – including Rockfon® Universal Baffles – offer acoustic performance which deliver the desired Shh. Elsewhere in the café, gym and community spaces, our products are tough enough to deal with the impact of heavy use.

Darnton B3 Project Architect, Martin Hurley, “I met with our client to discuss the acoustics in a large atria which sits between the children’s, and general reference libraries. We agreed to create a feature art wall using a selection of colours influenced by the council’s own corporate identity. The completed design works really well, delivering the visual impact and sound control we desired.

Rockfon Eclipse® wall panels were used to create the stylish art wall, featuring dark greys, purples, turquoise, teal, lime and orange which were NCS-matched. Eclipse can be specified in a variety of shaped formats with a clean minimalistic A-edge and unlimited custom colour matching. Quick and easy to install, the fixing kit allows panels to be set at varying distances from the wall to enhance creative possibilities.

Delivering the dream

Tonypandy-based M&P Group, were responsible for the installation. The firm’s Andrew Pearce commented, “Co-ordinating the process of installation across three buildings within a tight, riverside, city-centre site presented particular challenges. It was vital the supply line remained on schedule, with deliveries on-time and in good order – something the Rockfon team helped ensure. In fact, the project came together well and everyone is very pleased with the completed job.”

Nevill Long Area Sales Manager, Mike Parkin, “This was a technically and aesthetically interesting project to be involved with. It was a pleasure to work with Rockfon to ensure the correct materials were delivered on time and in full.”

Great performance and fabulous looks

Rockfon Specification Manager Rowan Green, “It was really beneficial to be part of the design specification process for this landmark build from an early stage. A guiding requirement was to achieve the least visible grid, using a selection of Rockfon ranges to create aesthetically pleasing results with high levels of sound absorption. In addition to the Eclipse feature wall, versatile, technologically advanced Rockfon Blanka® was installed throughout the three buildings, with specialised Blanka Bas utilised in meeting rooms to promote speech intelligibility. Rockfon® Koral™ was used exclusively within washrooms and lobbies.”

The Rockfon Blanka range offers a wide choice of alternatives for installation and usage. All embody Class A sound absorption (aw 1.00), 87% light reflection and >99% light diffusion and room to room sound Insulation >26dB. Blanka’s easy clean, anti-static surface prolongs product life and is non-directional, which speeds up installation, saving time and money.

Within the futuristic building, an arrangement of elegant, circular, Rockfon Eclipse islands, in white, are hung from ceiling wires, creating the illusion they are floating in mid-air.

In common with other Rockfon ranges, Rockfon Koral offers excellent sound absorption and the highest fire safety characteristics. It is easy to clean with a vacuum or a damp cloth and is available in semi-concealed and visible grid options.