Northern Ireland’s artists and designers of tomorrow are moving into a creative new environment enhanced by the stylish appearance and solid functionality of stainless steel sinks and worktops, custom-crafted by leading bespoke manufacturer GEC Anderson. The durable stainless steel products have been installed as part of a major development programme at the University of Ulster, where they will provide essential facilities for various art disciplines. GEC Anderson is a pioneer of made-to-measure stainless steel products for domestic, commercial and specialist applications.

The University of Ulster’s School of Art and Design caters for 2,000 students in the Warwick and Orpheus buildings, flanking busy York Street in downtown Belfast. The school provides teaching and research facilities in fine and applied arts, design and visual communication. In the first £12 million phase of a £30 million re-development, the school is commissioning a six-storey extension to the Warwick Building. The overall plan, prepared by Belfast-based Todd Architects, enables the university to expand teaching and recreational activities on an urban site within the Cathedral Quarter conservation area. Project architect Angus Waddington says both existing buildings will be extensively modernised in the later phases.

With numerous studios and workshops for “wet” art disciplines – ranging from painting and ceramics to print-making and printed textiles – the school has a significant need for durable worktops and sinks. Although the new building will eventually focus on the digital arts, it will provide temporary accommodation for departments displaced by renovation elsewhere. In the new extension, interior design consultant Colin Sneddon of DEGW specified GEC Anderson stainless steel sinks, worktops and splashbacks to ensure lasting resistance to paints, inks and dyes. “I have worked with these products previously. GEC Anderson provides a robust, quality solution which is ideal in this application,” he says.

Installed by Specialist Joinery Fittings, the bespoke worktops from GEC Anderson are made from acid-resisting grade satin finish stainless steel. The worktops, up to 4m in length, feature integral sinks from GEC Anderson’s standard range as well as splashbacks and water-retaining edge details to minimise spills and splashes during daily use.

GEC Anderson Managing Director Martin Tye says stainless steel stands up well to sustained heavy use. “It requires minimal maintenance which means low lifetime costs, and is easy to keep clean. These factors, combined with sheer good looks, make stainless steel the ideal material in many different applications.”