Decorative casing solutions – The big cover up

The interiors of many buildings, as well as some exteriors, would be considerably less attractive and practical, if it wasn’t for column casings and interior wall lining solutions.

A bold statement perhaps, but column casings are an essential part of contemporary building design and perform a vital function by providing an effective, stylish and immensely versatile method of concealing structural steelwork, concrete columns and in some cases, building services.

While there may be very few people who will stand back to admire laminated plywood column casings in schools, hospitals and retail outlets or brushed stainless steel wall cladding in a prestige office building or hotel, they play a key role in the aesthetics of countless building environments.

The use of column casings has grown dramatically since the early 1980s where their primary role was purely to cover structural supports with comparatively little consideration as a method of adding visual decoration to a building.

Since then, the demand for wider choice and increased aesthetics from design conscious architects, interior designers and specifiers has been a key influence on Peterborough based decorative casing specialist, Encasement, whose range has expanded and diversified considerably over the past ten years to become the most comprehensive available in the UK.

The company’s complete range includes ‘Circa’ and ‘Quadra’ which are manufactured from pre-formed plywood, alongside its ‘Forma’ metal casings, ‘Polyma’ GRP and ‘Gypra’ GRG product ranges. ‘Metza’, a specialised solution that provides mezzanine floor columns with up to two hours fire protection is also available.

Versatility is a key feature behind a diverse range of projects where the column casing’s design has been used to accent an interior or provide a unique aspect to a building. This high degree of freedom enables major brands, particularly in the retail sector, to specify colours that not only adhere to their brand guidelines but also add to the customer experience.

Encasement’s ‘Forma’ metal casings, for example, provide specifiers with a diverse range of options and can be specified with diameters from 250mm up to 1000mm or as square, rectangular and hexagonal forms, as well as unique custom profiles.

While all of Encasement’s column casings are suitable for interior use, its ‘Polyma’ GRP products and ‘Forma’ range, which can be manufactured from aluminium or stainless steel, are also widely used on exterior projects due to their inherent weather resistance.

Recent projects, such as Tetrosyl’s new head office reception, Birmingham Dental Hospital and Winchester College, together with Porsche West London’s prestige showroom, Kia’s recently opened flagship premises on London’s Great West Road and Debenhams’ major store at Cheshire Oaks, all perfectly illustrate the versatility of ‘Forma’ column casing solutions.

At Tetrosyl, the casings are a unique aerofoil section, Birmingham’s Dental Hospital uses a 25 metre high semi-elliptical design, whilst at Porsche, Kia and Winchester College, the casings are circular, but use distinctly different finishes to meet individual project specifications. In addition, the Winchester casings are used both on the building’s exterior, as well as its interior.

Alongside ‘Forma’, Encasement’s ‘Circa’ and ‘Quadra’ pre-formed plywood column casings ranges were the first to be introduced by the company and are still arguably the most popular, as they provide specifiers and contractors with an unrivalled selection of finishes, which includes plain, laminated or real wood veneers.

While ‘Circa’ is available from Encasement as a plain casings for on site painting and decoration, by far the most popular casings are those finished with decorative laminates, which not only resist damage, scuffs and scratches, but also provides the specifier with a diverse palette of finishes including plain colours, wood grain and metallic, as well as textured and real wood veneers, to name but a few.

Both ‘Circa’ and ‘Quadra’ are manufactured from FSC® certified plywood and Encasement is the UK’s only supplier and manufacturer of pre-formed plywood pipe boxing and decorative casing products that holds an FSC® ‘Chain of Custody Certification’ from the Forest Stewardship Council. This makes the products compliant with sustainability codes and environmental procurement policies.

Designed solely for interior applications, ‘Circa’ and ‘Quadra’ are used in almost every building type from education, retail, hotel, sports and leisure to health sector and commercial office buildings. As a result, the choice of sizes available is also wide, allowing specifiers to choose not only circular and square, but also extended circles and rectangular profiles, which use additional infill panels to give greater flexibility while ensuring they are still easy to install.

Recent Quadra projects include Farnborough’s 6th Form Centre and the Dame Kelly Holmes Sports Centre, while among the many ‘Circa’ installations, Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal, Liverpool University and Gateshead International Stadium are major installations.

Alongside the company’s column casings, its ‘Vecta’ system provides a high quality solution for interior wall linings, bulkheads and reveals. Launched just a few years ago, the system has been widely used in retail, education and commercial buildings, such as Tesco, South Bank University and Prêt a Manger, as well as prestigious office developments, including Wellington House and the Carmine building in Paddington, London.

Encasement’s Managing Director, Martin Taylor, commented:

“Column casings provide a perfect mix of practicality and aesthetics and we’ve taken a lot of care to ensure our range meets both of these key criteria while also ensuring that we always remain competitive and deliver high quality products. Our entire range has been configured to provide the widest possible choice as well as being easy to specify.”

He added:

“The Vecta interior cladding system enhances our building interiors offer and allows specifiers to source a range of specialised interior finish products from a single company with high levels of expertise and experience in this sector. We also have our own contracting arm, which enables us to offer a full supply and install service to support contractors.”

Encasement’s latest ‘column casing solutions’ e-brochure is available for download from the company’s website and covers every product in the range as well as providing details on materials, sizes and finishes available alongside an extensive technical information section. Further information is also available from their website at or by calling 01733 266889.