Hochiki's Black Sensors Minimise Aesthetic Impact
The Circle is at street level, adjacent to the station's main entrance and includes a number of leading retailers, such as W H Smith, Vodafone and Marks & Spencer, along with YO Sushi, Pret A Manger and Starbucks. The ceiling comprises textured metal panels and flush concealed lighting trays, punctuated by the accent lighting troughs. The designers of the interior were concerned that standard white or ivory sensors would be visually intrusive and so opted for the black solution suggested by Hochiki, which has proved popular in other environments, such as nightclubs and cinemas, where white sensors are aesthetically unacceptable.
The sensors selected for The Circle were Hochiki's ALG-E photoelectric smoke devices that are fully compatible with Hochiki's ESP, or Enhanced System Protocol, analogue addressable protocol. They incorporate the company's unique Flat Response high performance chamber, which optimises the device's sensitivity to both smouldering and flaming fires and allows the sensor threshold level to be increased, improving the signal-to-noise ratio and reducing the susceptibility to false alarms. Each sensor's chamber incorporates uniquely angled baffles that ensure that internal reflections are not misinterpreted as an alarm condition.
Elsewhere throughout the station no fewer than 5,000 Hochiki sensors and sounders protect passengers and staff. The same detection technology has also been adopted for the new Ebbsfleet International Station near Dartford in Kent, and the new Stratford International Station near the City and Canary Wharf that is also central to the 2012 Olympic transport strategy.
Hochiki Europe (UK) is headquartered in Gillingham, Kent, and has been active in the fire safety market since 1993. It is a subsidiary of the Tokyo-based Hochiki Corporation that this year celebrates 90 years in the fire safety business. The company installed Japan's first public fire alarm in 1920 and developed the world's first addressable manual call point. Today, it is an international business that manufactures more than five million detectors every year, and has the largest fire test laboratory in the world.