Studio facilities for a community of hardworking contemporary artists need to be durable and easy to maintain yet aesthetically pleasing, so architects Caruso St John specified made-to-measure stainless steel sinktops from GEC Anderson as part of the £2.25 million redevelopment of the Spike Island art complex on Bristol’s harbourside.

GEC Anderson stainless steel sinktops were also specified for the IT suite tea-point, artists’ and visitors’ toilets and baby-change areas.

Spike Island, a former tea packing warehouse, has housed local artists’ studios since the 1990s when it replaced the earlier Artspace venture. It has grown to become a national centre for the research and development of contemporary visual arts, including painting, sculpture and print-making, with 70 affordable long-let studios and a series of spaces for more commercial cultural industries, such as design studios.

The redevelopment, just completed, includes a welcoming entrance, while the new café is Spike Island’s first shared social space. In addition, studio spaces have been improved and the vast exhibition galleries are among the UK’s most impressive. Caruso St John project architect Rod Heyes said, “When it came to specifying the big washing out sinks, we needed something reliable that would still clean up and look good after the artists had poured plaster, paint and various chemicals over them. We have used GEC Anderson products on several other projects and they are our default supplier for stainless steel. We are impressed by the quality of their products as well as their design detailing.”

GEC Anderson managing director Martin Tye says quality stainless steel is a highly versatile material that can be deployed very effectively in applications across the spectrum from workshops to designer kitchens. Stainless steel is also ultimately durable and hygienic. “Spike Island may prove to be one of the tougher environments for GEC Anderson sinks, but with a modest amount of care these sinktops will still perform well and look good after many years,” he says.

With creativity uppermost in the minds of Spike Island’s tenants, their surrounding facilities and those also provided for the visiting public were selected for functionality, aesthetics and durability. The Spike Island specification includes made-to-measure stainless steel sinktops all with integrally welded bowls. Within the metal work space, extra large Le70 (700mm x 500mm x 300mm) bowls, were specified. The baby-change area includes an 800mm wide surface. All sinktops are made from satin finish domestic grade stainless steel.