ARMOURCOAT: Family values
As a leading manufacturer of decorative plaster, innovative surface finishes and sculptural effects, Armourcoat has become an integral part of some of the world’s most prestigious architectural interiors. Features Editor Sophie Harper headed to leafy Sevenoaks in Kent to meet with Chief Executive Officer, Guy Whitehead, to find out more about the company’s ongoing success.
Having started life very much a family company specialising in the construction of squash courts, Armourcoat has evolved with time to become an authority on specialist plaster products and application. As a team, they’ve made huge advances in plaster technology through years of research and development, honing their expertise to create products that are changing not only the way buildings look, but the way they perform as well.
Listening to Armourcoat’s Chief Executive Officer, Guy Whitehead, while he talks so passionately about the company’s products and values, it’s clear that the work carried out here is a labour of love, genuinely, for all involved. The staff get involved with the development of products, and educating peers and partners on the latest advances is a real group effort.
The latest, and perhaps most exciting, product is Armourcoat Acoustic, an intelligent plaster system designed to enhance the acoustics of an interior space by minimising the effects of excessive noise and sound reverberation. It’s an innovative product that has been a hit with a whole multitude of commercial spaces – from restaurants, bars, and clubs, to theatres, leisure facilities, office spaces, and hotels. It’s an effective solution for spaces that are designed to be relaxing or calming areas, but that lack that level of ambience because of the sheer volume of people using the space. Armourcoat Acoustic works by absorbing sound, rather than reflecting it, unlike most other surfaces, and can be applied completely seamlessly over large area ceilings and walls. In fact, it’s such a revelation, it’s been granted the Quiet Mark Award – a mark of approval from the Noise Abatement Society Charitable Foundation, which recognises just how effective it is from a health perspective as well as improving the atmosphere of specific spaces. And then there’s its eco credentials too – which actually goes for all Armourcoat products.
Guy gives me a guided tour of the Sevenoaks facility, telling me how Armourcoat makes its products from recycled marble and natural minerals, and how proud they are of their eco status. And rightly so. Not just a recent development, Armourcoat has been very conscious of its environmental footprint from day one and has been careful to develop products that contain zero or low VOCs without compromising quality.
During my tour, I’m introduced to staff who are busy testing different stages of plaster production, from the Polished Plaster range to the incredible patterns formed from the Sculptural range and the array of colours available in the ArmourColor collection – it’s a real education in the creative possibilities that stem from what many would simply think of as something that smooths over uneven walls.
I’m interested to hear more about the logistics of Armourcoat’s involvement with projects. Being such a hands-on company that works on projects all over the globe, I was keen to find out how teams are organised to carry out and oversee various stages of product application. Guy tells me that as well as having partner offices in the US, Dubai, and China, Armourcoat has a whole army of international companies that are involved in the training and overseeing of application or installation, which makes sense when you tot up the huge number of projects the company has under its belt. “We have a really good relationship with each of our partners,” says Guy, “we spend time getting to know these people and really invest in them.” It’s one of the reasons the business is so successful, the care and attention to the people who represent Armourcoat is reflected in its delivery of beautiful, quality products, and harks back to the company’s very beginnings, as a quality-focused brand with a real sense of pride and community at its core, and while they might not all be related, they are still very much one big happy family.