Grahame Muir holds a pair of binoculars. He has not taken up bird watching He is explaining a new partnership with Nikon. Arena Structures’ managing director is standing on a cantilevered terrace – the cantilevered terrace and signature feature of Arena’s brand new structure, Arcus. The terrace comprises binocular stands – a small but imaginative finishing touch that will be available to clients when Arcus enters the market in May.
“Clients want to offer their customers 21st century hospitality,” Muir explains. “We’re simply lifting the bar higher with a design-led offer. We’ve done a deal with Nikon, we’ve created more viewing areas, there’s more comfort and more height. It’s taken 18 months because new ideas don’t happen overnight, but the market is looking for something different and we’re delivering it.”
Stand Out is in Bree, Belgium, at Veldeman’s offices. Arena has designed Arcus in conjunction with Veldeman, and today sees the first official unveiling of the prototype. Arena’s top clients are in attendance. The final tweaks are being made and elements of the structure have hit production. Arena has purchased 4,500 square metres of high-tech single, double and triple deck product. The prototype features smooth lines, a curved roof, horizon window panels with extra wind bracing, a new walling system, which makes graphic applications much easier, a glass handrail system, and more height – 12.5 per cent more height in fact.
A cantilevered and covered balcony gives guests an uninterrupted view, improved thermal and acoustic insulation qualities also feature and fewer steel legs, along with an optional atrium, deliver a lighter, airy environment.
“Our kit sits in the UK and we build more double and triple deck structures than anyone else. We’re beyond the provision of commodities now. We’re ‘decommoditising’ if that’s even a word,” Muir laughs. “But seriously, we’re focused on design, new projects and environments. We want to be seen to build environments and not structures. It’s about far more than kit.”
Arena has invested £5.8 million that will enable it to introduce new event and hospitality offers to the marketplace and 35,000 Clearview seats also.
“Clearly, 2012 is the driver,” he adds. “Yet, the BMW PGA Championship will be the first to use the new seating and structures at Wentworth. The cantilevered veranda will be used at The Open Championship. We’ve asked clients for the last 18 months ‘what do you want?’ and this is the progression.”
As well as significant investment in product, both seating and structures, Arena has also opened a new office to assist with major hospitality projects in London during 2012 – based in Haymarket, a team will focus on international overlay projects, tenders, new projects and design and build. It sees growth coming from outside of the UK, and therefore has an eye on the East.
“The minute you stop you die,” says Muir, “so you have to have a good design offer. Clients are focused on the inside and want an environment. We’re working with more partners to deliver a wider offer. For this project, we’ve brought in Orgatech to complement our Spaceworks products and we’re working with Connexions, because for clients such as HSBC and Rolex there’s a high-end requirement for superior interior fit-out.”
The structure that Stand Out finds itself in boasts different flooring solutions. There’s a marked move away from carpet, instead wood in grey tones has been used on the floor and continues up the interior walls.
But if the product has the winning formula, why has Arena not introduced more than 4,500 square metres?
Muir adds: “We could have done more, but we’re mindful of key and regular clients, and the economic climate. We don’t want to overexpose the product and then live with the consequences of investing too much.”
Arcus will be available in five-metre bays – so typically from five to 20-metres wide. Designs have been created for 25 and 30- metre wide structures but these will not be available until 2013, once Arena has tested the waters in 2012.
Muir concludes: “ We’ve had fantastic feedback from the clients who’ve seen this new offering in prototype form and you can be certain they will see creative possibilities we haven’t even considered. They love to challenge us. We’re relishing the prospects of delivering new solutions when it comes to the temporary overlay and design possibilities the new Arcus structures alongside Clearview with Box Seat give us.”