Refurbishing a grade II listed theatre

The multi-million pound refurbishment of the Mayflower Theatre, Grade II listed building in Southampton, is now complete. An intricate palette of Dulux Trade paint colours has been specified for the auditorium – with show-stopping results.

More than 1,000 litres of Dulux Trade paint were used during the refurb, which has given the space a beautiful, intimate feel fit for the 21st century.

Specified by leading practice Foster Wilson Architects, Partner and Project Architect, Jonathan Size, explains how the theatre’s new paint scheme was developed: “The colour scheme has changed completely. When we took on the project, the auditorium featured a turquoise and pink-based scheme, but extensive research and detailed paint analysis revealed that the theatre’s original colour scheme was very different.

“We took paint samples from the theatre walls exposing several different colour schemes over the years including grey, cream, yellow and even a vivid pink scheme in the 1930s. We wanted to take it back to its original strong reds and recreate the glamour of the theatre’s 1920s heritage.”

The samples came back revealing some 15 colours, which were handed to us. Dulux Trade Colour Consultant Nicola Holmes worked to pare down the original colours, settling on a palette of red and burgundy, with shades of gold and silver for highlights.

Specialist paint effects, including glazing and marbling, finished off the auditorium, while the front of house areas and staircases used a coordinating colour scheme of reds, greys and creams with gold highlights.

Joe Ellis, Specification Development Manager for Dulux Trade, explains: “Once we had analysed the existing layers of paint and the decision was made to revert to the theatre’s original colour scheme, the matching of colours provided a glamorous and modern look.

“The atmosphere in a theatrical space has to be intimate and warm, to create the right mood needed by performers and audience. We had to get it just right, particularly as we were changing the existing colour scheme, which everyone was used to.”

We supported the project throughout, particularly when it came to selecting the right products for the theatre environment.

Originally, Dulux Trade Pyroshield, a flame retardant coating, was specified across the whole project. However after analysis at an independent testing laboratory we realised that only the staircases would require a flame retardant system, to ensure compliance to the Fire Regulations.

The lab tests also showed that the main auditorium area was class O and at an acceptable levels. So, we specified Dulux Trade Durable Flat Matt for the low-level wall areas and Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt for the higher walls and ceiling areas.

The UK Decs Ltd team made a soft start on site 10 weeks before the theatre’s temporary closure, with prep work getting done during the day so as not to interrupt evening performances.

Lower-level work including the remaining walls and stairwells were completed using Dulux Trade Pyroshield, whilst the metal balustrades were stripped back and Dulux Trade Satinwood applied to any previously painted timber surfaces.

Paul Fleming, Commercial Services Manager, says: “Dulux Trade is proud to have played our part in bringing this superb theatre back to the look and feel of its heyday. This demonstrates the power of colour to transform spaces and the expertise of the Dulux Trade team was on hand throughout to ensure that this intricate and high profile project was finished with brilliance.”

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