Situated in the heart of the city centre the £440m Westgate development will transform the existing shopping centre into an 800,000 sq.ft retail and leisure destination. The new Westgate shopping centre will feature over 100 new retail stores, 25 restaurants and cafes, a boutique cinema, roof top terrace dining and a wealth of new public spaces.
Funding for the project has been acquired by the Westgate Oxford Alliance, a joint venture between Land Securities and the Crown Estate, who have nominated Laing O’Rourke as the principal contractor for the project.
Following approval by Oxford City Council, preparatory works began at the Westgate development in February 2015 and the project is due to be completed in Autumn 2017.
As part of the project Essential Projects was contracted by Laing O’Rourke to design, manufacture and install a bespoke feature glass staircase, make structural alterations, as well as manufacture a number bespoke steelwork items required for the addition of the new Next Plc retail store located within the Westgate development.
The bespoke single flight glass staircase was manufactured in house and was designed to incorporate both clear glass and mirrored glass risers. In keeping with Next brand guidelines, granite treads will be installed to complement the seamless glass balustrade and will be finished with handrails made from walnut, affixed to the core top rail using stainless steel brackets.
The glass staircase will be installed inside the front entrance of the store and provide access to the 1st floor shopping area which also now includes a Costa Coffee. Originally the Costa Coffee store was located at the rear of the store but in order to cater for Nexts “see through” policy, it was agreed that a new section of mezzanine flooring would be required in order to bring seating area to the forefront of the glass shop to provide customers with a much better shopping experience.
To accommodate the store front Next brand identity, structural alterations will be made by Essential Projects in order to cater for the stores signature glazing which has become an exterior focal point of Next Plc stores across the UK. Vertical channel sections will be installed on site which will allow the glazing to be supported by steel support brackets.
Also, to comply with DDA compliance, Essential Projects manufactured and installed two lift shafts required to provide alternate access to the stores upper levels.
Commenting on behalf of Essential Projects, Managing Director Eliot Saxton said “It is a privilege to work on a scheme of this magnitude. Having worked on a number of Next store refurbishments around the UK we fully understand their ethos on wanting to ensure their stores convey transparency and allow for the maximum amount of light to pass through the store. It is our understanding of our clients’ needs which enables Essential Projects to provide truly bespoke solutions which caters to their exact requirements.”
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