Sikkens timber coating makes High Tide Pavilion project shine.

When Perth’s Harris Architects were commissioned to create a site-responsive installation for Fremantle’s High Tide 17 Festival which could also double as an information hub and departure point, they decided to create a plywood pavilion that reflected the tidal patterns of the nearby beaches. With so much timber used, it was essential to find a premium coating that would not only enhance the structure but protect it from the elements, and so they applied 120 litres of Sikkens Cetol HLSe in Light Oak.

The unique pavilion, which is also being used to stage presentations by artists and music and artistic acts, is characterised by a ring of 2.4m-tall radial plywood blades mounted into a circular plywood plinth.

“These plywood blades undulate up and down and interpret the tidal pattern for Fremantle during the event,” explains architect Jonathan Harris. “The entire pavilion is cut using a CNC router and all components (approximately 720) are friction fitted together so no screws, nails or glue!”

When it came to finding the most suitable coating for the plywood, Harris followed a recommendation from a cabinetworker colleague.

“The artistic director for the event, Tom Muller, had also used Sikkens in the past and I certainly consider it to be a leading product in the market, so was very comfortable using Sikkens,” Harris says. “We had a number of both water- and oil- based products tested on offcuts of the plywood and felt that the Sikkens Cetol HLSe was the best outcome for our specific plywood. It really held and articulated the wood’s natural grain, which we felt was very important.”

Harris assembled a small team of workers to carry out the coating of all 720 components and a representative from Sikkens came out to help.

“I don’t have significant experience with coatings or stains so I was very grateful for the strong support Sikkens provided on this project,” Harris says. “The team has thoroughly enjoyed the process – it has been a truly collaborative project and the sponsors have been extraordinary.”

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