By Tarren Bolton | All photos by Adam Letch
Wooden floors and ceilings offer warmth, durability, comfort, style and timeless beauty – not to mention providing minimal harm to the environment.
There are hundreds of reasons to love hardwood floors. The natural colours and beautiful grain on the wood planks add a charming appeal and the uniqueness of wood can’t be found in any other man-made or natural hard surface flooring options. Wood floors also gain more character as they age.
Working with nature
High-quality hardwood floors add a richness and lasting appeal to any room, creating an elegant and inviting environment that oozes class. Nick Gluckman, owner and founder of Oggie Flooring says, “For generations people have chosen wood for its aesthetic appeal and warmth. Technology has made it possible for buildings to get the luxurious look of years gone by, through using affordable engineered flooring – which is one of the options on offer at Oggie.”
Gluckman adds that Oggie continually strives for excellence, while offering customised planks with a focus on options (such as widths, lengths, colour nuances; patterned panels; or hand crafted texture finishes) and delivering excellent service. Oggie’s outstanding craftsmanship and commitment to uncompromising service has led to a loyal client base including many of Africa’s leading architects, designers and property developers. Oggie is the largest importer of FSC oak flooring and Cladding in Africa, and has designer showrooms in Paarden Eiland, Sandton and Umhlanga, and supplies timber throughout Africa and the Indian islands.
Durability with quality engineered hardwood
Wood flooring adds character, with endless choices and a variety of construction options. Regardless of the architectural style of a client’s building, there is always a place for wood.
While solid hardwood flooring is expensive, the ranges of engineered planks are more affordable and stable, while still offering a solid top layer of hardwood, and so manage to achieve an identical look. Because the engineered planks are bonded to other layers, these hardwood varieties are constructionally more stable.
“Because Oggie has the most technically-advanced Trivec Dutch colour finishing plant in Africa, we can custom finish our client’s unfinished ranges,” Gluckman says. Each plank is individually finished, planed, brushed, smoked, coloured, and measured by the most demanding standard there is – the human eye.
Broad range of oak flooring or cladding
With over 200 oak options, catering for every taste, customers are assured of the perfect wooden surface. The wide range of planks with different characteristics offers interior solutions that are sleek, contemporary, modern, classic or aged.
Oggie offers extraordinary plank dimensions ranging in sizes from 190-400mm width and 1 900 – 5 000mm lengths. In their engineered floor range the floors have a 3mm to 6mm solid oak wear layer above the tongue and groove and are made with 10-20mm thick wood, including multiply construction.
Outdoor timber decking and cladding by Oggie
“Oggie has recently introduced an outdoor range of solid thermo-treated Nordic ash and Nordic pine for cladding and decking applications. Our outdoor range of colours and lengths is also very extensive,” says Gluckman.
Thermo treated wood is a versatile material for exterior and interior applications in all climates. The thermal modification process uses only heat and steam to change each plank fibre all the way to the wood core.
This wood is heated to 150°C for 20 hours so that the natural sugars and nutrients are broken down, and the wood’s moisture content is reduced to 0%. The heat is then raised to 215°C and held for 4 hours. This is where the cellular structure is altered, and the colour process takes place. It darkens and toughens the wood, achieving a low moisture content and dimensional stability.
During the cool down process, the temperature is reduced over 24 hours and moisture is reintroduced for end use. The entire 48 hour process is carefully monitored digitally to ensure quality. After the plank is profiled, it goes through a specialised quality control unit called an Optimiser, where boards are scanned for grading and defects. Any defects are automatically rejected.
Thermo treated planks are energy efficient, durable, low maintenance, and decay resistant.
Well-maintained wood keeps its natural ambience and beautiful appearance. “To this end, Oggie partners with WOCA, the world’s leading wood care company,” says Gluckman. Decades of accumulated technical expertise have enabled WOCA Denmark to produce the best and strongest system of both finishing and maintaining wood products – providing new life and energy. WOCA is focused around nature, from the way its penetrating oils are designed to protect and enhance the natural properties of wood to the impact that the manufacturing process and products could have on the environment.
Project: Cheetah Plains – Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Oggie works to create aesthetically outstanding interiors and has built strong partnerships with some of Africa’s leading property developers construction supervisors, architects, and designers, because besides holding a reputation for reliable, and punctual delivery, they are proud of their products, and never walk away from a job.
One of the projects where Oggie was used is the beautiful Cheetah Plains project – Sabi Sand Game Reserve, “Which used Oggie on their ceilings and floors – and has been recognised and received several awards for being a world-class luxury eco hotel,” says Gluckman.
Freeing game lodge architecture from the cliché
Cheetah Plains is a new Game Lodge designed by ARRCC Architecture and Interiors studio. Located in the Sabi Sand Wildlife Sanctuary bordering the Kruger National Park, the clients chose to pursue a different offering for the market; by avoiding the typical typology of creating a central communal space surrounded by bedroom suites, the accommodation is split into three separate, private components referred to as the ‘Plains Houses’.
The Plains Houses are made up of clusters of free-standing buildings carefully arranged to accommodate existing natural features such as trees, typography and views – thereby minimising intrusion into the landscape.
Each house is comprised of a main communal living building surrounded by four-bedroom suites. The living facilities include a private arrival courtyard with covered waiting canopies, an expansive open plan lounge, dining and bar space with an adjoining air-conditioned wine room, a more private family room, outdoor boma area, expansive terrace and heated pool. Across from the pool a sculptural raw steel pool pavilion, inspired by the canopy of the local Tamboti tree, perches over the bush. Each house is also equipped with its own commercial kitchen with dedicated chef and culinary team.
The bedroom suites are standalone structures, with generous open plan lounge and bedroom spaces, guest toilet, and a walk-in dressing room. Opening directly to the outdoors, the bathroom offers the thrilling experience of bathing in the bush.
The design of the Plains Houses pursues an audacious new ‘Afro-minimalism’. It does not mimic the outdoors but, rather, through a play of natural-and-organic against man-made, the architecture contrasts with and thereby complements the environment. Robust off-shutter concrete and rough stone walls ground the buildings into the landscape while expansive cantilevered roof structures float over the bush allowing for views to remain uninterrupted in all directions. The materials are resilient, allowing themselves to be shaped and aged by the environment and by time.
Spatially, the boundaries between indoor and outdoor are blurred to create a seamless experience. Forms and spaces, arranged in series, are kept pure and distinct – resulting in a play of geometry and light.
The Interiors retain this sense of rawness and complement it with plush and luxurious fittings, and wood floors and ceilings by Oggie. A sense of ‘African-ness’ is reflected in the materials and textures.
- SAOTA Architecture & Design