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News - Designer Panel Systems

Ring in the new year with BlueScope Steels exciting new Metallic Colorbond steel color range

Bluescope Steel have introduced 6 new colors to their extensive color pallet, exploring these new options can take your project from average to AMAZING!

New color range;


These feature colors will add another dimension to our cladding division demonstrating dynamic changeable qualities caused by light variations.

THe introduction of this new range will see the existing Metallic steel range move into the secondary tier. They will still be available but may have special lead times attached.

Sky Bridge

December 2014 saw the completion of the 4 stage residential unit development located at Victoria Road, Northcote for the Hacer Group.
Installed by K-Roofing this project commenced in April 2014 with an expected completion date of November/December 2014.
Initially the plans showed natural timber cladding but Designer Panels were instructed to look for an alternative. We already had an existing Timba range (Decowood ILP) but it was not suitable for this application. We looked and tried various local products but none of them gave the real look of a timber cladding. So we had to look off shore and found a new innovative Timba cladding range that reflected the real look of timber, highlighting the imperfections of timber, various timber grains including wood knots. And so began our Printech Timba Interlocking Panel range consisting of 3 different wood grain finishes.
Victoria Road, Northcote consumed around 40tonne of material all backed with polystyrene foam. Panels were rolled at 185mm with a 15mm express joint. Due to the size of the project careful planning and order between K-Roofing and Designer Panel Systems as site storage restrictions were tight.
Upon completion it is evident that the soaring timber facade not only replicates the timber look but it is almost impossible to tell that it is NOT real timber.

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Yep another year has come and gone, as we welcome in 2015 we say goodbye to the year 2014.
2014 was a very big year for Designer Panel Systems, we completed our biggest and most complicated project to date ” The Melbourne University Building of Architecture”
This immense project of perforated VM Zinc panels, all of which tapered multiple times per sheet took careful planning and delivery to form and iconic landmark in Melbourne.

Now in 2015 we see the commencement of our latest commercial VM Zinc project the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre, NSW.
The new exciting Cancer Centre will be built on the existing Albury Hospital site.
It will include approx 8,000m2 of floor area with additional courtyards and covered areas.
The project includes a feature VM Zinc roof of around 15 tonne of VM Zinc standing seam with additional wall cladding highlights.

What a great way to start the year!

To start something new you need to end something old, so good bye 2014 and WELCOME 2015!

Can the Colour of Your Home Really Change Your Behaviour?

Colour Psychology is the study of colour and how it influences our behavior. A recent article by Frank H. Mahnke http://archinect.com/features/article/53292622/color-in-architecture-more-than-just-decoration states “Studies have proven that human-environment-reaction in the architectural environment is to a large percentage based on the sensory perception of colour” and “human response to colour is total – it influences us psychologically and physiologically.”

Blue is said to calming, black is said to be depressing, white and yellow are thought to be more cheerful colours, while red is said to be exciting and stimulate the brain.

Given that colour plays such a vital role within our lives, it also plays a vital role in the field of architecture. Colour is a very powerful tool when it comes to design because colour can create impact and response both mentally and behaviourally.

There is a significant relationship between colour and space because colour can alter the perception of a space. For example, darker colours can make a space appear smaller while lighter colours can make a space appear larger.

Effective use of colour needs to be deliberate and purposeful and sometimes subtle. It is important to have a very clear design rationale when using colour. The level of skill of an architect can be measured in their ability to use colour to enhance a space and draw attention to design features. Colours should be used carefully and with purpose to adjust the perception of proportion and add character.

The use of colour for a building needs to be considered holistically. It’s important to note that colour serves a purpose both internally and externally. In today’s environment of rapid technological advances we are provided with a range of options to add colour and texture to surfaces both inside and outside of the home. Products such as architectural panel and cladding systems provide architects with flexibility to explore both colour and form in numerous new ways. Not only do these new products provide striking and colourful finishes they are also extremely durable and long lasting.

While it’s not necessary to fully understand the psychology of colour, I’m sure we all agree that our lives and homes would be rather bland and boring without it. With a clear purpose and design plan, the sky is the limit with what you can achieve through the use of colour. With the application of architectural skill and creativity colour can be used to create impact and response and yes, may even change behavior.

Critical Elements in Planning a New Home

Planning a new home is one of the most exciting and challenging projects anyone could embark on.  It’s a continual goal to achieve balance in a multitude of ways; the balance between form and function.  There’s also the balance between quality of finish and budget.  Undoubtedly there is the balance between what is planned and what is unforeseen.  When considering which  architect, I believe there are four main critical elements to consider:



When selecting your architect, you will obviously have a lengthy criteria to ensure you select the right person to play such a critical role in the design and development of your new home.  It’s important that you not only make your selection based on style and design that aligns with your personal taste but there are a few other things to consider.  When selecting an architect, it’s important to remember that you’re not just selecting them but also their network of contacts that will inevitably help to deliver your dream home.  This well established network often includes a construction team, interior designer and a range of suppliers.



Design is something that is very personal and can often be quite subjective.  There are always architectural styles and design trends but inevitably most architects have their own personal style, which permeates through their designs concepts.  While it is one thing to consider the overall design in terms of look and feel of your new home, it’s also important to consider the quality of the fixtures and fittings.  It is critical that the selected builder can provide the desired standard so that the overall design is not compromised.



When looking at design, providing a visual queue of how things will look in the real world creates perspective.  Some of the tools architects use to do this include 3D models, drawings, scale drawings and plans.  Often computer generated images are used to provide a life like visualisation of completed product.



Do you and your architect have the same view point when it comes to the final design and presentation of your home.  Most architects have a specific visualisation of how a build will look on completion.  It’s critical that you are both on the same page with this vision, as it also needs to marry with your lifestyle in order to make it work for everyone involved.

Architectural Play on Light

The use of light in architecture is quite complex and a definite art form. Light is considered to be both a gift and tool when used in relation to space. Skilled architects have the ability to sculpt light and create a sense of intrigue and anticipation.

When designing a space there are so many things to consider with regard to light; how much light, the quality of light, how light is altered by weather and time of day, the fact that light is constantly changing, which direction the light is coming from, the colour of light and how light is amplified or reflected. All of these considerations combined with the design of a space can create a mood or generate an emotional connection or response.

Just as natural light is used to define a space, artificial light serves a purpose, which is increasingly much more than just for illumination at night. For example artificial light can be used to make a subterranean or darker space appear more open and friendly. Lighting design in relation to artificial light plays an important role in the design process. New lighting design concepts, technological advances and energy-saving LED lights provide a new level of sophistication and range of options in lighting design with seemingly endless possibilities in application. Artificial light can also be used to completely change the mood, ambience and perception of a space after dusk.

While the new and exciting world of artificial light creates excitement and wonder due to the possibilities, I personally have a great appreciation for the qualities natural light provides in architecture. Louis Kahn was recently quoted as saying “Architects in planning rooms today have forgotten their faith in natural light. Depending on the touch of a finger to a switch, they are satisfied with static light and forget the endlessly changing qualities of natural light, in which a room is a different room every second of the day.”

While we are seeing an increase in innovative lighting solutions in architectural projects, I don’t think that the art of sculpting natural light will ever loose it’s impact or value in the field of architecture.

In this age of communication we are being constantly bombarded with news and media on a range of social, political and global issues. Our precious environment is a concern at the heart of most people today with a common goal to provide a positive future for our children. Awareness levels are at an all time high in regard to issues such as climate change, global warming, environmental degradation, pollution, resource depletion and the list goes on.

A reflection of this heightened awareness is the area of sustainability. Sustainability in architecture is a topic of personal interest and I’m particularly interested in projects where is sustainability is at the core. One prime example of this is the Cape Patterson Eco Village.

The Cape Patterson Eco Village has been developed with the environment top of mind in collaboration with Australia’s leading sustainability experts. Located close to Inverloch it is approximately an hour and 40 minutes drive from Melbourne and it is the first sustainable housing project of it’s kind.

Homes constructed in the village will feature sustainable architecture in the area of sustainable design, greater energy efficiency through the use of solar panels and water conservation features. The surrounding environment will benefit from the protection of the coastline, which is also located close to a number of conservation areas. All homes will achieve a 7.5 star rating which is unprecedented for a development of this size. With an affordable starting price point it is expected that the development will generate a substantial amount of interest.

Similar developments falling within the area of sustainability include Westwyck which is located in the inner city suburb of Brunswick and occupies the former site of the Brunswick West Primary School. The building was repurposed into an urban example of sustainable development. Material, energy and water efficiency are the sustainability principles at the core of the Westwyck development.

There are a growing number of sustainable residential developments in Australia but unfortunately they are not quite yet “main stream”. My hope is that in my lifetime I get to see the “Eco Village” become common design and building practice in Australia and throughout the rest of the developed world. With so many environmental issues to address, this is a tried, tested and proven way to reduce our overall impact on our precious environment and ensure a positive future.

With growing global concern around climate change and the increase of significant extreme weather events, we are in turn seeing a growing commitment to the reduction of green house gas emissions on a global scale. There is a greater need than ever before for the building and housing industry to deliver increased sustainability for a more positive future.

To put things into perspective it is estimated that in developed nations approximately 20-30% of energy is consumed in homes. Therefore, improvements in the area of sustainable or green building processes can contribute to significant energy reductions and a brighter future.

Australia is at the forefront of sustainable building practices with the use of cutting edge design and planning processes that are both environmentally friendly and resource efficient. Thanks to Australia’s harsh climate and weather extremes, we have seen a significant increase in both innovation and expertise in the areas of sustainable building practices over the last 10 years.

With major organisations established to lead the way such as the Green Building Council of Australia http://www.gbca.org.au, which introduced the Green Star environmental rating system for building in 2003.

There are three key benefits to sustainable building practices, which significantly help to build a strong case for a more sustainable future and these are the ability to:
• Save money long term
• Be socially responsible
• Contribute to environmental sustainability

An example of environmentally sustainable techniques in Australia include:
• Highly insulated buildings
• Optimal orientation
• Solar access
• Use of Thermal Mass
• Double glazing of windows and glass doors
• Rainwater harvesting
• Grey water recycling
• Waste recycling

Here in Australia there is a growing regulatory framework for sustainable building. The Building Code of Australia (BCA) has minimum mandatory energy efficiency measures designed to eliminate worst practice in the industry and also achieve significant improvements.

Other initiatives include “Build it Back Green” in Victoria, which encourages sustainable solutions for disaster-affected communities. It encourages rebuilding with a reduced carbon footprint. The key messages are affordability and sustainability.

The education sector is helping Australia develop our future experts and raise Australia’s global profile as a leader in the field of environmentally sustainable technologies. Perfect example of this is the Team from University Of Wollongong (UOW) taking out first place in the Solar Decathlon http://sbrc.uow.edu.au/news/UOW157974.html in 2013 in China. The team excelled in their winning entry of retrofitting existing homes with sustainable products for water efficiency, solar harvesting, passive design and ventilation systems.

This is certainly an industry to watch and one where rapid improvements in the area of technology can also contribute to greater improvements in creating even more sustainable building practices. While we are seeing a number of improvements in the area of new building processes, I expect the team at UOW are on to a winning strategy with endless potential also in the area of retrofitting.

Architectural Facades Sheung Wan Hotel Heatherwick Studio

Our buildings shape our cities and in turn shape the way in which we live. Architects are responsible for creating the physical environment that people live in. Their challenge is to combine creative design with technical knowledge and create spaces that are both aesthetically appealing and, most importantly, functional. Most often the structure will stand the test of time and continue to make a statement about the creator well beyond their lifetime. There have been many architectural trends throughout our history which have influenced the way in which we live our lives today (if your interested to learn more you might like to take a look at 

So what are the key trends influencing architecture in the year 2014:

1. Reduction in Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions

Sustainable, passive, low energy and green are all types of architecture that are designed to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. This is one of the most positive trends which puts the environment and our future as the single most important priority. Buildings are becoming a part of the environment and the people who live in them not only realize some amazing cost efficiencies but can also live comfortably with a clear conscience.

2. Creation of Multifunctional Spaces Within the Home

With an increasing population and inevitable urban sprawl, space is becoming and increasingly valuable commodity. Therefore, the creation of multifunctional spaces within the home will become even more critical. We are already seeing structures with flexible spaces thanks to moveable walls which create areas that can be transformed from public to private spaces. This also adds up to a much smaller footprint.

3. The Outdoor Room

In order to maximise space, many architects are designing spaces that incorporate an outdoor room in the overall design. These outdoor rooms have purpose built functional spaces that are used to make the most of the available space. Landscaping, an outdoor kitchen, swimming pool and dining area are just a few of the components of these new sophisticated spaces.

4. The Merging of Technology and Architecture

Virtual design and the use of digital technology has transformed the industry. This combined with the ability to incorporate new technology within the home, makes for endless exciting possibilities. Technology continues to enrich architecture and there appears to be no limit to what we might see in the future.

5. Adaptations of Materials

Building exteriors are reaching new levels of complexity. Various adaptations of sheet metal are proving popular design today due to the increasing variety of options and product ranges. With construction underway of the world’s first 3D printed building

who knows what the future will hold, but I’m looking forward to seeing what unfolds.

Architectural Facades Golf Club Prague Adr Architects
Architectural Facades Golf Club

VM ZINC Flat Lock

We are starting our “Project Revisited” blog section.

Each month we will revisit some of the highlight projects throughout the previous year.

Our first project is one our most unique Flat Lock projects thus far.

Located in Middle Park, Melbourne, this project was designed around using the VM Zinc Adeka cladding system.
Due to the tight radius of one section we altered the specification to use the VM Zinc Anthra Flat Lock system. This system is very similar in appearance to the VM Zinc Adeka but allows more flexibility in its formation to hug the sub structure and create seamless curves.

Each panel was laid in a diamond formation creating the aesthetic of a shingle or fish scale affect. Every panel is custom made and are identical in length and width. Installation was performed by John Meads from Design Cladding using a specialised concealed fix system.

The curved Flat Lock tiles created an incredible, fascinating facade that captures your attention.