Recently, we had the opportunity to work with IKEA through one of their latest projects, the Toppen Shopping Centre in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. In order to enhance the IKEA experience, Toppen contains various other retail outlets along with a range of activity zones for visitors. Here, the versatility of our ADAS® products allowed us to assist in creating a variety of structures that not only provided shade for the visitors, but also supplemented the overall ambience of each space.
Multimedia Engineering Pte Ltd is an architecture and engineering company whose work centres on the design and construction of innovative lightweight architecture. Our holistic design approach is based on interdisciplinary collaboration within an international team of architects, civil engineers, mechanical engineers and computing experts. The confluence of architecture and engineering in our company allows us to deliver optimal solutions that combine form and function, aesthetics and technology, and art and science for our clients worldwide.
Initially, we were selected to design the canopies for the Kids’ Playground and Main Event Space, but as the project commenced, we received a new assignment from IKEA to shade the Skate Park and Multipurpose Court as well.
While working on the project brief with our client, it dawned on us the challenges of creating large-scale lightweight canopies on a soon-to-be landmark building under complex site conditions. The canopies needed to be point-supported and anchored securely to the rooftop, which is one of the most vital aspects when it comes to unsupported coverings for large areas; unrivalled in particular for fabric structures.
Furthermore, as we were engaged near the end of IKEA’s project timeline, we were tasked with delivering the canopies in time for the grand opening. This meant that each design had to consider the ease of installation to reduce the construction time to about two weeks.
The project consisted of four main areas: the Kids’ Playground and the Main Event Space with a Performance Stage in the central Plazaand the Skate Park and the Multipurpose Court which served as one of the main attractions for sporty visitors.
For the Kids’ Playground, Multipurpose Court and Main Event Space, the client opted for the ADAS® Tensile Membrane for its sun-shading and rain-proofing features. For the Skate Park, the client chose ADAS® Tensile Mesh to meet a 34% shading requirement, fulfilled by the material’s unique shading quality. These products were selected to ensure longevity for outdoor use while providing ample visual and thermal comfort.
Initial Design Stage
While designing the canopies for the Kids’ Playground and Main Event Space, we wanted to capture the concepts of creativity and distinctiveness. The inverted cone shapes we designed were clad in greenery for the Main Event Space, and had varying sizes for the Kids’ Playground for an element of playfulness.
The Skate Park and Multipurpose Court were located near the main signboard of the mall, which meant that we had to prevent the view of the signage from the main street from being blocked whilst providing enough headroom clearance. To solve the issue, we designed a tilted canopy with an Origami Folding Shape concept that was discreet from street view but eye-catching at roof level. A Barrel Vault form was chosen for the Multipurpose Court to produce an efficiently wide-spanning canopy.
All canopies were installed with additional lighting features to improve ambience and usability in the evenings.
Design Development alongside Client
To ensure that we address all our clients’ needs and concerns, it is important that we form a clear understanding with the client initially to set a direction for the design concept. After the design is fixed, we then develop the project further to work towards the finalised design for approval.
Combined with our in-house design software WINDAS®, engineering analysis and form-finding was carried out to determine the most suitable forms with minimal induced reaction forces onto the existing roof slab.
We use an iterative and incremental approach based on physical self-formation processes: the form evolves as the laws of nature dictate. These formative forces include surface tension, adhesion, gravity and pressure differences. This process results in an extremely efficient canopy structures with minimal surface and steel structural supporting systems.
The Shop Drawing and Engineering Report were then prepared and submitted to IKEA for approval, upon which we then proceeded to the Fabrication Stage, carried out in our own factory facilities.
Through ADAS®, IKEA was able to streamline the process of creating four different large-span canopies in terms of product selection, design and engineering. With our own fabrication and installation team, the project management of each structure was well-coordinated, resulting in an extremely efficient schedule which saved both time and cost. Despite the complexity of the project and the challenges faced, we relished the design-build process, and are excited to work with clients such as IKEA again.