Younique® by Formica Group provides bespoke design to complement gothic heritage
Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire, is a gothic revival masterpiece. Designed by James Wyatt in the early 1800s, the original house dates back to 1633. Today, both the buildings and gardens are considered to be of special architectural and historic interest; the main castle building is Grade II* and many other buildings within the Grade II* Registered Park and Garden are Grade II Listed Buildings.
Nestled in over 321 acres of parkland and historical gardens, Elvaston Castle and its grounds were purchased by Derbyshire County Council in 1968 and it was the first Country Park to open in the UK. As part of a phased masterplan for the estate, the castle is undergoing a major redevelopment plan over the next 10 years to make it more sustainable and accessible. As part of this, the council specified Younique® by Formica Group’s digitally rendered panels for the washroom doors in the main castle building.
The public toilets were run down and in desperate need of updating since their installation in the 1970s. Derbyshire County Council’s Conservation, Heritage and Design Service set about designing the new washrooms, inspired by the castle’s Gothic Hall, to improve the visitor access and experience.
The design concept incorporates the installation of a new sanitary pod in the original building with a back to back arrangement of water closets. Removing the dividing breeze block wall ensures more light enters the space, helping to brighten the washroom. The removal of the wall also reveals the high ceilings and original cornices of the building, allowing visitors to appreciate the original layout of the room which was once the servants’ quarters.
Alex Gilbert, Historic Buildings Architect, Derbyshire County Council comments: “Minimal intervention is key with historic buildings and so this is why we opted for a pod design as it can be taken out, as and when, with no impact on the original building structure. Each side now comprises a fully accessible toilet with baby changing facilities and two additional toilets.
“The project has not been without its challenges along the way as an archaeological watching brief was required to oversee whether anything of historic significance was unearthed. Asbestos was also discovered in the ceiling and so this had to be carefully removed.”
Alex continues: “The design inspiration for the toilets is taken from the historic Gothic Hall. Drawing on the historic elements, we created a strong, dynamic pattern with different motifs and crests of coats of arms relating to the family. We’ve replicated these elements on to the walls and doors of the toilets. They’re a bit of fun and a nod to the history of the castle.”
Alex adds: “We’ve previously used Formica® laminate in projects and know the manufacturer has the capability of replicating imagery on its products through its Younique by Formica Group service which is why we specified the material for this project. We needed a product providing longevity and Formica laminate provides a high performing and durable solution that is easy to clean and maintain.”
The Younique by Formica Group service provides the ultimate flexibility allowing architects and designers to create a unique pattern or design, capture a photograph or corporate logo in Formica laminate. The service offers both screen and digital print solutions to ensure the optimum replication of any design.
Image: Derbyshire County Council.