Phoenix Square, Leicester

Phoenix Square, Leicester

Architect: Ben Okrafo-Smart
Installers: Elmsmere Engineering
Type of works: supply of Rockfon Sonar dB44 and Polar Colour acoustic ceilings.

Phoenix Square is a £21.5m mixed-use development in the heart of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter. This new Digital Media Centre provides 3 cinema screens, digital exhibition space, a public café and office space for up to 68 new businesses, as well as 63 high-quality city-living apartments on the upper floors. Rockfon ceilings were specified throughout the development with a variety of products being used to fulfil specific performance criteria.

Ben Okrafo-Smart was lead architect on the project and worked closely with the acoustic consultants, Bickerdike Allen Partners, to create pleasing interior environments for each area of Phoenix Square. “This was an acoustically complex development”, explained Ben. “There were very specific requirements for the cinema auditoriums, and we also had to consider sound transmission from the office areas to the residential units above. Rockfon’s products helped us to achieve the desired acoustic performance throughout the development, with a range of styles and module sizes that met our design objectives.”

Ian Sturgess of Elmsmere Engineering, who undertook the installation of the ceilings, also commented: “Rockfon ceilings were specified for their acoustic properties as well as their moisture and humidity resistance. We use a lot of Rockfon products in our installations as we find them very easy to handle and work with, so were delighted to be using them on this scheme.“

Rockfon’s Sonar dB44 was installed within the studios at Phoenix Square. Made of two sound-absorbing layers of stone wool with a high-performance membrane in between, Sonar dB44 gives Class A sound absorption as well as outstanding sound insulation. In two of the cinemas and the projection room, Rockfon’s Polar Colour tiles were chosen for their smooth surface finish and high sound absorption properties, utilising the Polar Black colour option.

The corridors presented another interesting challenge as all ceilings had to line up, as well as being easily movable. To meet this requirement, Rockfon created a specially designed Koral 1,200 x 300mm teg tile, which was then fitted into Rockfon’s grid system to ensure the tiles were in line. The micro-textured, painted White surface of Koral provides high levels of sound absorption and the range of module sizes available make it easier to create individual ceiling expressions.

Throughout the Digital Media Centre, the latest environmental technology has been employed wherever possible. This includes the use of ground source heat pumps to provide underfloor heating, and rainwater harvesting in non-residential areas, as well as solar panels on the main roof that will pre-heat the domestic hot water systems.

Rockfon ceilings further enhance the building’s sustainable credentials, being made from stone wool, an abundant natural raw material that requires no harmful blowing agents to manufacture, and can also be recycled at end of life. The stone wool construction means Rockfon tiles can withstand up to 100% humidity and maintain dimensional stability, which were also important factors for Phoenix Square.

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