Scoring a Win for Accessibility

29th November 2019
Posted By : Anna Flockett
Scoring a Win for Accessibility

Established in 1992, Manufacturing By Design Ltd (MBD) is a leading British manufacturer of hand-crafted bespoke furniture, cabinetry and architectural joinery. As a traditional cabinet-making company, their work spans any built environment where form and function are paramount, such as reception areas, executive board rooms, restaurants and luxury homes.

MBD’s skillset and knowledge of fabrication allows them to use an unlimited range of materials to meet the requirements of any interior. MBD’s focus is on quality and innovation and their dedicated team works closely with architects, designers and contractors to deliver commissions throughout the UK and worldwide to take the process from design and fabrication through to installation. This has enabled them to develop a reputation for innovation, creating a demand from a wide range of prestigious clients.

The Challenge
In 2019, MBD was commissioned by F3 Architects to fit-out the joinery within the Premium areas of the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London which replaces the club's previous stadium, White Hart Lane. This included the Chairman’s Suite, the Tunnel Club, the Players’ Lounge, the Supersuites and four signature restaurants, as well as the high-profile members-only area, the H Club. The club features a Chef’s Experience Counter which offers all-inclusive packaged experiences that give guests a bar-side view of world-renowned chefs at work before they enjoy the freshly prepared food.

A key element of the design was ensuring that the bar area and any events taking place there were fully accessible to wheelchair users. With the countertop weighing around 50 kilos, MBD had to find a solution which, as well as being safe for one member of staff to use on a repeated basis, would fit neatly within the streamlined design of the entire bar. 

With a thickness of 50mm, a length of almost 6.5m and a width of 2.5m, the dimensions of the natural stone countertop added to the challenge. MBD explored a number of options, such as removing a section of the bar to make it fully wheelchair accessible. Another alternative would have been to build an additional section into the countertop which would have to be lifted out and put back in place each time. As well as requiring two members of staff to move it, this option would have been challenging to use as well as compromising accessibility, safety and the visual impact of the high-profile bar. MBD would not have been able to use natural stone for the bartop in this case due to its weight, limiting the choice of materials. In addition, a lift-up flap that locks into a bracket on the wall or gas struts prone to failure over time would need to be used to hold up the bartop, creating a potential health and safety hazard. The LIFT-A-SYST 60 Counterbalance System from engineered access hardware supplier Southco was the only option which met all the requirements of the project.

The Solution
MBD identified that the Southco LIFT-A-SYST 60 Counterbalance System would address all of the accessibility and aesthetics requirements for the H Club bar. Counterbalance Systems are engineered specifically for controlling the weight of heavy countertops and covers, allowing them to be lifted and positioned with ease. Southco’s LIFT-A-SYST 60 is an off-the-shelf solution that combines assisted lifting force and positional stability through the full range of motion for opening and closing to make bars and other public spaces more accessible. The LIFT-A-SYST 60 provided a complete solution for the H Club by allowing the bar to be moved smoothly and effortlessly into a lowered

position to make the bar accessible for wheelchair users, while matching its luxe style by remaining flush with the surrounding countertop when restored to the “up” position.

The LIFT-A-SYST 60 allows the countertop to be locked in place in both the up and down positions, and is activated easily by hand with a T-release handle from either the front or rear side of the counter. MBD also made some aesthetic modifications, creating finishing cover plates in matching natural stone to completely cover the parts of the mechanism on show when it is in the “down” position. Additionally, the LIFT-A-SYST 60 features a compact design that won’t interfere with the working side of the bar, maximizing service space.

As soon as we saw the Southco solution, we knew that it was exactly what we were looking for. It was very exciting to be able to identify an innovative solution for a project as unique as the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The end result is superb.”  Tony Juchau, Managing Director of MBD

The Implementation
When creating a more accessible environment, many establishments install a section of the counter that is in a permanently lowered position. This lowered service space often goes unused when there are no patrons who require a lowered counter. MBD & F3 needed to identify an innovative solution with the capacity to meet a high standard of accessibility for a key area of the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium without compromising on their design.

By incorporating the Southco LIFT-A-SYST 60 into the bar space, MBD & the F3 design team have brought accessibility to areas where there traditionally hasn’t been a solution, providing a new answer to the vital need for more flexible access in public spaces. At the same time, the LIFT-A-SYST 60 allows the H Club to maximize countertop space in high traffic areas helping to maximize revenue and customer satisfaction with a continuous bartop service area. With the opportunity for MBD to fit-out many areas of the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the solution from Southco enabled them to maintain their fast pace of work and complete the project on time and within scope.

The Results
Southco’s LIFT-A-SYST 60 unit enabled MBD and F3 Architects to design a bar space that is stylish, adaptable and accessible. By ensuring that the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium offers a high standard of accessibility, this project has helped to further strengthen MBD’s reputation as a leader in their industry.

At MBD, we are always pushing boundaries and developing new ways to achieve the right result for our clients – it’s what we enjoy doing, said Tony Juchau, Managing Director of MBD. “As soon as we saw the Southco solution, we knew that it was exactly what we were looking for. It was very exciting to be able to identify an innovative solution for a project as unique as the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The end result is superb.

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