Durban, South Africa
Soundspacedesign was commissioned to relocate the LR Plastics flexible packaging company into the old Novillon building that has been owned by Marley since its inception in the 1950s.
Situated on Old South Coast Road in Mobeni – an older industrial zone in Durban, the landmark building designed by modern architect Geoffrey Le Seur, is typical of Mobeni-stylen face-brick factories of the moderne period. The brief called for the creation of four distinct departments: Extrusion, Printing, Bagging and Dispatch which had strong security requirements between them to prevent in-house theft of specialised components in the machinery.
The design response was to create an elevated circulation system, curved in harmony with South Coast Road, that gets staff and workers to their respective departments.
The metaphor of an airport terminal’s Departures circulation system was used to create the necessary hierarchy and security points, but in as humane and glamorous a manner as possible. In this way, each department has its own kitchen, ablutions and lounge, with administrative offices straddling the curved circulation street overhead.
The existing courtyard is roofed to create the administration zone's double volumne atrium
Worker access and visitor access from beneath an understated joint portico
The new extrusion hall adds to the skyline of 1930's era Quality Street, Mobeni
The canteen area becomes the space of social overlap in the factory
The street simply charges through the original staggered plan, and is faced with custom-designed bird-proof concrete blocks to enable natural cross ventilation. The administration block has been centred around an existing atrium, but with a more contemporary sensibility.
In keeping with the style of the existing building, a clean lined modernist approached was adopted for the alterations and additions. Uncluttered elevations, true to the materials used and the existing structure, are made up of ruled brickwork, custom-made breeze-blocks, horizontal “widespan” sheeting used as a cladding