An Interview with Marc Edwards from Opalescent Group

When you’re given the chance to work on an innovative project with a leading corporate – you take it. That’s the philosophy of Mr. Marc Edwards, National Project Manager, Opalescent Group, who was instrumental in the design, engineering and construction of a modern Sydney CBD landmark, the ANZ Shard.

Opalescent Group, leading suppliers of custom brand projects, work closely with architects, designers, artists and clients on a variety of commercial projects with external requirements for dynamic and bold signage. Late in 2015, Opalescent was awarded the contract to design and construct the ANZ Shard, located at the Bank’s flagship branch at 20 Martin Place, Sydney.

The Shard, positioned at the building’s entrance, is a three-dimensional tapered triangle, three storeys in height. The highly customised glazing system for this landmark sculpture was manufactured by Cooling Brothers Glass Company, a national supplier of large-format, UV-resistant Imagink decorative glazing systems. The Opalescent Group were overseeing the design, engineering, construction and installation of the Shard, together with all lighting components.

The Shard is 80% glass, while the rest is constructed in marine-grade stainless steel, and customised aluminium, supplied by Alucobond. While the ANZ Shard was engineered by Opalescent, the team worked from  the initial Shard design concepts provided by  BlueSky Design – ANZ’s  retail design partner who developed the Bank’s current  branch design.

Marc applauded the productive and respectful rapport between all the design team members. “It was a truly collaborative effort,” he reflected. Assembling each part of the shard down to the nearest millimetre, involved a high level of trust. “There was an installation team of six to seven people on site at any one time – up to 12 on some days,’ Marc reveals. ‘Each person involved in the project formed part of a well-oiled machine.”

On completion, praise began flowing in. “By all accounts our clients were ecstatic,” says Marc. “The close work with local Council to get the final form of the glass Shard agreed helped us provide ANZ’s  customers with an iconic brand element signalling  the Bank’s return to its prime Martin Place location in the heart of Sydney’s CBD.”

Mr Vince Bianchini, Director of Sales and Marketing at Cooling Brothers, was delighted with the result. “This demanding brief required absolute precision and the expertise of our skilled production team,” he says.

“The external skin of the glass shard features the latest ImagInk digital printing technology, developed to withstand Australia’s harsh weather extremities. Printed at 720dpi, the high-resolution digital process delivers perfect clarity to the gradient blue ImagInk process. This was applied to a 17.52 toughened laminate, incorporating a Vanceva Aquamarine interlayer.”

The internal skin featured a 15mm heat soaked low iron glazing system, displaying   ANZ’s delicate  white petal design for the entire length of the shard, again featuring the advanced Imagink decorative print  process.  The ImagInk blue and petal design both had a special LPI screen print setting to enable a smooth tonal shift over the artwork.

“In addition to the decorative colour palette, the PVB interlayer within the glass composite also ensures the integrity of the glass sculpture is contained, should there be a breakage or physical damage to the shard. The combined effects of the interlayer and ImagInk process enable greater design freedom than ever before,” Vince continues.

Marc cites working with Cooling Brothers as a particular highlight. “Everyone was exceptional to work with,” he explains. “From Kreena in the design team to Vince coordinating production, they’re a highly experienced and professional company, and all Australian, providing great comfort. Not a single piece of glass was broken during construction, which was essential – a single chip and everything would have been ruined. Absolute precision was required in both the manufacturing

Project Details
External Skin
  • 17.52mm heat-soaked laminate – including a combination of two interlayers Vanceva Aquamarine and Salfex Clear. Imagink printed with blue gradient on external faces.
Internal Skin
  • 15mm heat-soaked low iron with white petal design on internal faces.
  • Cooling Brothers. Imagink blue gradient and petal design, with special lines per inch (LPI) screen print setting enabling a smooth tonal shift over the artwork.