The $10 million stainless steel revamp of Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall has certainly lived up to its original purpose, providing a durable, clean and simple linear theme.
In 2006, inspired by success stories of nearby stainless street furniture, the City of Melbourne council conducted a life cycle costing analysis – with good results.
City of Melbourne Industrial Designer Marika Mulqueen said stainless steel ensured low maintenance costs and design flexibility.
“Using stainless steel over powder coated steel significantly reduces ongoing maintenance costs. A comparison found that while stainless steel can initially cost more, over a 20 year period maintenance costs can be up to 50 per cent less than powder coated steel,” said Marika Mulqueen.
“Maintenance involves a once a year pressure clean instead of the need for regular repainting to deal with scratching and paint peeling,” she said.
“Scratches do not show up as easily because the furniture is brushed stainless steel and is not prone to fading,” she said.
MME Surface Finishing, a member of Australian Stainless Steel Development Association (ASSDA), provided smooth mechanical finishing, which minimises dirt retention for optimum corrosion resistance.
The project included new seating, drinking fountains, recycle bins, banner poles and a new fit-out for the tram zone. Stainless steel was chosen as, when the correct surface finish is applied, it is virtually maintenance free.
John Bainbridge of ASSDA member MME Surface Finishing presented the department with information on the value of considering the life cycle cost advantage of stainless steel and the importance of specifying the correct surface finish.
ASSDA member TRJ Engineering fabricated the commemorative totem poles. The poles use grade 316 stainless steel in a No.4 scratch finish.
Each consisted of two pressed cylinders at the base of the pole which had L.E.D. lights mounted on both sides behind a glass facia. The cylinders were formed in a CNC brake press, which worked well to prevent any surface roughness.
The last part of the project was completed in-house before installation and electro-polishing. The Melbourne Technical Design Department has since recommended that all future street furniture commissioned by the council be stainless steel specified.