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Duncan MacKellar

Creative Director and Founder
Armourcoat Surface Finishes

Whilst studying engineering at Manchester University, Duncan MacKellar spent the summer holidays repairing the squash courts at his fathers squash club in Bromley using their own concoction of gypsum white pigments and polymer resin. After graduating from Manchester University with a BSc in engineering in 1984, Duncan, with the help of his father Jim MacKellar, started Armourcoat Ltd as a company specialising in the construction and refurbishment of squash courts.

The superiority of their ultra hard white squash court plaster did not go unnoticed and within a year of getting approval for their product from the World Squash Federation, Armourcoat became the best selling brand of squash court plaster in the world. In 1988 a leading London based architect, inspired by the dark blue polished stucco walls in Carlos Scarpa’s landmark project for Banco Di Verona in Italy, approached Duncan for a similar treatment to a large commercial project in London. Initially tinting their hard gypsum plaster, the surface was ground and polished with a marble polisher, treated with linseed oil and then waxed and buffed in a laborious and painstaking process.

Recognising the limitations of tinting gypsum plasters after several further projects, Duncan then started to investigate the lime and marble based plasters that had been written about by Vitruvius, the chief Architect of ancient Rome. A summer course in Venice on the materials and techniques of Marmorino for the restoration of historic buildings provided fresh inspiration. On his return he set about reinterpreting these ancient processes for use in contemporary architecture, combining his own recipes of lime and marble with new and varied application techniques to create surface finishes and effects quite different from traditional Marmorino.

The demand from the London based designers and architects for these new and creative natural stone finishes was overwhelming and before long Duncan had assembled a sizeable team of highly skilled and creative plasterers. Duncan’s creative talent then came to the attention of Peter Marino, a leading New York based architect who was working on the design of Donna Karan Collection stores around the world. This work gave Armourcoat international acclaim and constant requests for their materials from other specialists around the world.

Duncan MacKellar will be speaking at:

Concrete Panel Debate

26/04/2017 10:40 - 11:00

Ductal, high performance cement composite material with Duncan MacKellar, Armourcoat Surface Finishes

26/04/2017 10:00 - 10:20

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