When architectural designer, Felix Padfield, was tasked with designing a contemporary café and shop for his brother’s cheese company, which is based on the family farm, he had no hesitation on calling on the expertise of a close friend whose own business specialises in supplying steel windows for a range of clients across the south of England.

Nick Vassilopoulos set up Perla Windows in 2016.  With a background in construction and, having already delivered a number of contracts for FelixDB, he was able to undertake the supply and installation of the large multi-frame screens and doors to form the frontage to the Bath Soft Cheese Company‘s new destination at Park Farm on the outskirts of the historic city.

Felix Padfield explains: “Park Farm and Bath Soft Cheese Limited is a fourth-generation family business run my brother, Hugh, who is director. The Café and Cheese farm shop was expanded in 2019 to meet growing popularity and we provided architectural design services; though a lot of our work is high-end residential refurbishment in West London.”

“The superstructure is an industrial warehouse steel frame with exposed glue-lam purlin beams under an insulated aluminium panel roof.  We wanted to use on-trend industrial materials such as polished concrete floor and steel windows to reflect the industrial use of the building, and working farm location, whilst also referencing a contemporary, members’ club style.”

He continues, “We decided to use steel frame doors for the slim sightlines. I have known Nick and Dan at Perla for years and we’ve used their steel windows and doors for many of our coolest residential projects. The Perla Team was very patient with our many revision requests and deliberations.”

Nick Vassilopoulos reflected, “This was a great project to be involved with – a family-run business producing award winning cheeses where our windows offer a view out from the shop and café across the farm setting itself.”

“We have a good working relationship with the architect, Felix, who has got us involved with a number of his projects.  While we mainly serve the residential sector, we have done half a dozen quite sizeable commercial contracts across London and the south of England.”

The hot dip galvanized and polyester powder coated steel frames not only offer excellent security and durability, but high energy performance was also a key consideration for the contract.  The 4-12-4 toughened glass IG units feature krypton gas filling and warm edge spacer bars to cut heat loss, while control of excessive solar gain was also addressed in detail.

Felix continued, “The solar gain of the south facing aspect of the main façade was a great concern. Perla windows worked with us providing lots of samples of heat reflective double glazing with various tinting. We worried the tinting would be visible and give the glass a smoky 70’s effect but, in the end, the glazing is beautifully clear and colourless. Our concerns over solar gain have not materialised: with the large gable end providing an overhang and shading during the hottest months.

The project at Park Farm was successfully completed by Harmac Construction in 2020 and is attracting growing numbers of visitors as leisure activities return to normal after the pandemic.