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All show at the Chelsea Flower Show

Galvanized steel used in benches at the Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

In 2016 JAILMAKE was commissioned by the RHS to design new benches for the 2017 Chelsea Flower Show. As part of the project, JAILMAKE used the services of Premier Galvanizing (a division of Joseph Ash Galvanizing) to galvanize the steel.

JAILMAKE is a London-based design 3D practice. The company describes itself as a collaborative practice of 3D designers and engineers who design and make, across all scales and typologies. With a wide-ranging portfolio of interesting and unusual projects under their belt, the RHS (the Royal Horticultural Society) decided the company would be a good fit to build a series of benches, for event-goers at the 2017 Chelsea Flower Show. The team at JAILMAKE were happy to take on the project.

The RHS ordered six benches in total, and after a series of sketches, meetings and discussions, the final design looked like the drawing to the right.

Each bench would be 4m long, made from folded steel, with a wooden structure (made from European Oak) on top, where people would sit. They would be delivered in two parts to the event, and constructed on site, with the wooden structure laid across the top.

Being commissioned by the RHS, for the Chelsea Flower Show is an honour and JAILMAKE wanted to do a great job. In a project like this, a large part of ‘doing a great job’ not only revolves around the aesthetics and unique design, but also around the quality of materials, the finish, and the health and safety – i.e. ensuring the seats would be safe for members of the public to sit on.

To ensure the steel would be perfect, JAILMAKE contacted Premier Galvanizing to talk to them about treating the steel with a hot dip galvanized finish. Because the galvanizing process involves submerging the benches into boiling hot baths for hours, cleaning off any impurities from the steel and then submerging again, JAILMAKE had a concern about any potential distortion, as some of the steel plate in the structure was only 2mm thick. Premier Galvanizing were confident they could do a good job, and fully meet JAILMAKE’s specification and expectations.

As part of their service, Premier Galvanizing offered to visit JAILMAKE’s London studio to inspect the steel before the final fabrication work was completed. This proved invaluable because the Premier Galvanizing team members realised the steel would require some additional venting and drainage points.

When it comes to galvanizing, the correct venting and drainage can be the difference between a poor galvanizing finish, and a finish with premium quality.

Premier Galvanizing could look at the steel, and then suggest slight changes to the technical (not the aesthetic) design so that JAILMAKE would receive the best possible outcome after the steel had been dipped into the zinc galvanizing bath.

Once the slight modifications had been made, Premier Galvanizing dipped the steel at their plant in CorbyJAILMAKE took some pictures of the benches being hot dipped galvanized, which can be viewed to the right.

The steel for the benches was delivered to Premier Galvanizing on 9 May – just a few weeks before the flower show began. Premier Galvanizing carried out their service and returned the steel to JAILMAKE.

Two days before the Chelsea Flower Show 2017 began, JAILMAKE put the benches in place, laid the oak, and applied any finishing touches. A few days later the doors were open to the public, and the benches were there to be used, admired and enjoyed.

JAILMAKE were pleased to be commissioned for such a high-profile project. Premier Galvanizing was also immensely proud to work for such an interesting and innovative company, but to also be involved in such a prestigious event.

(Some of the photographs to the right by Ollie Hammick)

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