Flooring by the numbers NZ
Flooring by the numbers

Flooring by the numbers

277 and 309 Broadway: Westfield Newmarket gets 8000m2 of marble flooring

Words by Justin Foote

When it originally opened in the 1980s, 277 Broadway—or simply, two-double-seven—was a destination shopping centre, offering 60 stores and a supermarket for all your shopping needs.

Thirty-plus years later and the centre has undergone a $790m renovation and expansion project to become the largest shopping centre in the country, offering just over 88,000m2 of retail, food and entertainment outlets.

Owned by Scentre Group, Westfield Newmarket is once again a destination shopping centre. However, unlike its predecessor, this new iteration of mall, known by Scentre Group as a ‘living mall’, isn’t just about getting your fix of retail therapy, no, shoppers are encouraged to dine in, go to the movies, exercise at the gym or take in some family-friendly arcade fun—this is ‘shopping’ for a new generation.

Along with this new take on the mall experience comes a new, more upmarket take on design and fit-out, says Anna Williams, Marketing Manager for Tile Warehouse.

From a quarry in Greece, the equivalent of 8000m2 of volakas marble was shipped to a local factory where it was turned into tiles to be used as flooring in Westfield Newmarket.

Luxe products for a luxe look

“Scentre Group was looking for an organisation that had the scale, knowledge and expertise to deliver a project of this size. They chose Tile Warehouse on the back of our previous partnerships in supplying product to other Westfield properties and because our team had the in-depth knowledge of natural stone to help them make the right choice for their flagship New Zealand property.

“The upgrade was announced back in 2009 and we started working with Scentre Group in 2012. As part of the tendering process we had to submit samples of various natural stones that would meet their design requirements, which is where the combined stone experience of our team came to the fore. We could see the issues and discussed in depth with Scentre Group how to manage these.

“After an exhaustive, eight-month process looking at the pros and cons of various natural stones, we eventually identified Volakas marble in Greece. Volakas is a stunning white marble with grey veining and was chosen for the interiors. A variety of basalt was chosen for the food courts and external areas.”

Once the selection was made, Neville Colbert, Managing Director of the Tile Warehouse travelled to Greece with a representative from Scentre Group to agree on control samples. It was at that point that the hard work started, says Anna.

Once in New Zealand, the marble tiles were hand-checked—with any deemed not up to standard being rejected—prior to being installed at the shopping centre.

There is no substitute for quality control

“There were multiple challenges with this project—mostly down to the sheer volumes involved—particularly in matching the control sample. When you are dealing with a natural stone, such as marble, that is quarried from blocks then cut, all the natural variations are realised from one block to the next. This can make it difficult to match a designer's requirements and vision for the end look with the reality of what is coming out of the ground.”

In order to mitigate as much as possible these natural variations, a stringent quality control process was put in place, which saw Tile Warehouse’ Commercial Manager Stephan Engelbrecht travel to Greece to work alongside a local quality control expert to ensure correct material selection of the huge shipment of stone.

“Once the stone landed in New Zealand all 300 pallets were rechecked, by hand, against the control samples. All tile that was deemed outside the control samples was removed and where necessary, additional stock was re-imported at no charge to Scentre Group,” says Anna.

“Our commercial team representatives were onsite working with the two tiling gangs, ensuring, even then, that all the material was up to our high standards. It is fair to say our stringent control requirements and attention to detail were not always well received but Scentre Group had certain expectations and our role was to deliver on these, so it was a prerequisite to a successful project.

“Scentre Group appreciated all the effort our commercial team put into the sourcing and supplying of the Volakas marble and has looked to us on multiple occasions since to solve other stone and tile requirements for them.”

Tile Warehouse representatives Justin McNabb and Stephan Engelbrecht onsite at Westfield Newmarket during the installation of the 8000m2 of marble tiles.

No job too big

“The scale of the operation required, to look after the logistics and the timelines of a project of this size, is no mean feat. With close to 40 containers for the project arriving in New Zealand, this was a significant undertaking by Tile Warehouse,” says Anna.

“Using natural marble in a shopping mall environment in New Zealand is not common and some might say ill-advised, however, Scentre Group is very experienced in shopping mall operation and so understands the sealing, cleaning and maintenance requirements from both an installation and maintenance perspective. I am thrilled to say the end results speak for themselves and we are proud of the role we played in bringing such a beautiful project to realisation.”

Learn more about incorporating natural stones and marbles into your next project.

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