In this issue we focus on the largest construction fair in the Middle East, Big 5, and Europe’s finest furniture fair Orgatec. Discover live product demonstrations and learn what experts are discussing in terms of sustainability, along with an array of product examples. We dig further into the materials exhibition that took place at Orgatec. French designer Marlène Huissoud, for example, experiments with insects to create new materials, one which offers a similar result to that of glass.
One of the highlights of Big5 at Dubai World Trade Centre in November 2016 was an array of product demonstrations taking place through the halls of the exhibition. These demonstrations attracted huge crowds as visitors got the opportunity to understand the benefits of using the product as well as try their hand at...
According to the BNC (Business News for Construction) Dubai Construction Market 2016 report, there is a steady boom of construction projects around the UAE and it shows no signs of slowing down. As a result, there is a need for continuous innovation in the area of sustainable design and construction, with customers looking for solutions that both minimize environmental damage to nature and improve their current internal and external standards of living.
This year at Big5, numerous companies showcased commercially available technologies that drastically reduce energy consumption in buildings. The Gaia Awards for sustainability, where 400 entries were received toward reducing environmental impact, took place, thus cementing the growing significance of creating sustainable construction and design solutions for the future.
Several presentations covering various aspects of sustainability were delivered, one of them by Dr. Ioannis Spanos, a senior sustainability manager with KEO Internal Consultants. KEO’s sustainability services have a strong focus on green building, environmental impact assessments, environmental management services in addition to environmental audits and quality studies.
In his presentation, Zero Carbon Buildings: Managing of Design and Construction, Dr. Spanos focused on the importance of over-shading and orienting the building in a way that reduces the cooling demand. He said, “Building with a correct orientation can reduce the energy efficiency of a building and toward zero-carbon buildings. However, the design of a building is not only about zero energy, it’s about encouraging pleasant living environments. Usually, the orientation of the building is defined by master plans and the views. It is imperative that master plans must be developed to take into account potential sustainability and low energy design good practices. Regarding the views, a low energy consultant can support architects and clients to optimize the buildings’ reduction on cooling loads without minimizing the impact of beautiful views. A building cannot operate in a sustainable way if its surrounding facilities and master plan decisions do not support its functions. Many urban planning elements improve and contribute to a building’s sustainability rate. Most importantly, they provide the foundation for sustainable buildings and a sustainable living.”
Maryah Plaza Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi UAE. Courtesy of KEO Internal Consultants.
SageGlass by Saint-Gobain
Bagging the 2016 Big5’s Gaia Award for sustainability this year, SageGlass, a product by Saint-Gobain, has reinvented the whole definition of glass. With its innovative electrochromatic technology, SageGlass undergoes tinting when the sun hits its surface. Both glare and heat are avoided as a result, and energy consumption from air conditioning is drastically reduced. No longer are curtains or blinds required—living in a building clad with SageGlass improves the human living experience.
In the video below, Alain Garnier, manager of sales and development, walks ArchiExpo through the process of how SageGlass works as well as shows in real-time the tinting of the glass, which takes around five minutes.
Assa Abloy takes sustainability to a new level by offering high security and eco-friendliness in its EL560 low-energy lock. It is the ideal product to use in construction industries where electric locks are preferred over the traditional magnet lock systems. It saves on energy consumption, which in turn reduces the cost.
Assa Abloy won the Visitors’ Choice Award at the Big5 this year. The product’s appeal lies in part in its minimal environmental impact, while still maintaining a high standard of security and optimal functionality. In comparison to the 52 kWh that a magnet lock consumes energy wise, the EL560 low-energy lock consumes only 0.018 kWh.
Henry Toledo, sales manager, Middle East, outlines in the video how the low-energy lock works and how it benefits the design industry from an eco-friendly point of view.
Apart from constructing buildings with greener materials, aesthetic design remains important. That is where Pladur comes in. The goal is to ensure that noise has been reduced to as much as 50%. Its gypsum boards are used for the building ceilings and have been created with perforations that boost optimal acoustic conditioning of the space where they are installed. The perforations come in different shapes and sizes depending on the customers’ needs. The rear of the boards have been created to be a barrier from dust and unwanted particles. The surface finishes include chestnut vinyl, oak vinyl and birch vinyl. Pladur gypsum boards are used in hotels, shopping centers and public spaces, but they have also been installed in building entrances.
David Linares Leyva, export manager, walks ArchiExpo through the product’s features and how it undergoes several tests such as fire resistance, acoustic absorption and thermal insulation before it is introduced to the market.
Enhancing the external wall insulation system for the purpose of building protection has never been more imperative. Now, thanks to Diathonite Evolution, a product of Diasen SRL, the construction industry can take advantage of a new type of plaster that incorporates the eco-friendly traits of cork. Diasen SRL has ensured that its product allows the plaster to not only be high on insulation, but also have breathable and fire-resistant qualities.
Cork has superior qualities to traditional plaster, including the fact that it is three times lighter. When harvested from the bark of a cork oak tree, it is done in a way that doesn’t damage the tree. Not only is it a natural material, it is 100% biodegradable, making its use kinder to the environment and on people’s lives.
Referring to the demands of the local and international green codes, Dhanya Gangitano, general manager, Diasen, said, “When developing our product lines for vernacular architecture, we kept in mind our aim to develop products that are safe for the people and their environment. Diasen has developed these ideas with the help of modern technology to produce such systems, thus helping construction professionals answer to the demands of sustainable buildings.”
In our last issue, we began discussing our discoveries at Orgatec’s materials exhibition. Beautiful espresso cups made of ground coffee beans, which would normally end up in the trash, got our attention, and from there we gathered information on several products to stir up some inspiration.
With nearly 9 million bags...
Located on Saadiyat Island on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is set to open in 2017, almost five years behind schedule. Yet thanks to its design, the brainchild of Pritzker Prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel, most will agree that this stunning building has been well worth the wait.
Louvre Abu Dhabi museum construction site at dusk. Image via travelandleisure.com
With Abu Dhabi’s summertime temperatures frequently soaring over 40°C, the setting for Nouvel’s latest creation could hardly be more different from Paris, site of the world’s most-visited museum and mother institution.
Yet the French architect has worked hard to mitigate the Abu Dhabi climate, employing a range of passive design techniques. The museum’s perforated dome, said to emulate the woven palm-frond roofs typical of the region, captures daylight without letting in too much sun. Pale material colors reflect heat, while reduced-flow plumbing and water facilities have kept the building’s aquatic footprint to a minimum.
It is the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s vast domed roof, illuminated each night by 4500 lights, which represents the pièce de résistance of the project. Comprising eight interlocking layers of aluminium “stars” and steel, it measures 180 metres in diameter and weighs 12,000 tonnes (almost double the Eiffel Tower).
Throughout the day, light filters through the dome’s geometric apertures, throwing ever-changing, raindrop-like patterns on the floor and walls. In an effect that Nouvel likens to a “rain of light”, it is intended to evoke the dappled interior of a covered Arabian souk.
“The apertures are actually arranged so that microclimates are generated in designated areas,” says Bernhard Reiser, a design manager with Waagner-Biro, the Austrian firm which manufactured the dome. “Cooler above restaurants, warmer above other areas.”
“raindrop-like patterns on the floor and walls” Image via Louvre Abu Dhabi Youtube video.
Underneath the dome, both the roof support system and shaded gallery spaces are equally avant-garde. Inspired by the ancient falaj system of Arabian irrigation, channels filled with seawater snake between podiums and platforms, providing a cooling counterpoint to the stark, unblemished walls.
The cladding on the museum buildings, made from ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC), is also rather special. As with the aluminium stars of the canopy, the vast majority of the cladding panels are uniquely sized, with subtle differences intended to communicate an impression of historical hand-crafting.
Unlike traditional reinforced concrete, which incorporates steel, UHPC relies on a matrix of glass fibres to boost compressive and tensile strength. It also benefits from minimal shrinkage and porosity, providing a vital defence for the museum walls, many of which will be constantly exposed to corrosive seawater.
German magazines Bauwelt and D-B2 organized a guided tour for architects during the fair. We were taken to several stands for product presentations from carpets to lighting and a focus on acoustics, sustainability and smart choices.
Object Carpet gave a presentation on how to use its online configurator in the “Shaping Spaces” exhibition. The question is whether an interior designer or architect can download a space via BIM or other software in order to see what the carpet would look like in their designed spaces. It’s not yet clear, but they can choose from a number of pre-made rooms provided by Object Carpet. We also learned about its new luxury brand MANUFAKTUR and new collections WEB FLEX and FREESTILE, whose carpets are made from 100% PET fiber.
We later toured “The smart co-working lobby,” whose lounge was supported by Carpet Concept. The space had office bikes, a scented coffee bar, a relaxed lounge and quiet retreats, using the Carpet Concept CAS Rooms system.
Carpetconcept CAS room design
“In the future, rooms will be smarter, more intelligent,” Matthias Quinkert from Carpet Concept said in an interview with curator Michael O. Schmutzer from Design Offices. “While it was still troublesome to control one’s office or home via smartphone 10 years ago, it is commonplace today. This new thinking between team spirit and individuality, collective intelligence and community requires new spaces. Quick and individual spaces, which promote both digital and analogue working and allow flexible adaptation.”
Exhibitors such as Toucan T Carpet focused on acoustics. The company exhibited its new Maesh unlimited collection and T-SONIC backing. A wide room requires global sound absorption, an important step towards qualified room acoustics. In most modern offices—particularly when modern sectional ceilings are used—the floor is the largest contiguous surface for acoustic measures. According to Toucan T Carpet, noise and visual disturbances strain the power of concentration. A VDI study (Association of German Engineers) puts the losses of performance due to these factors at 20 to 30%. Toucan T Carpet claims these losses of performance can be reduced by T-SONIC.
We visited a number of other exhibitors; Microsoft showcased the Ecophon acoustics from Saint Gobain and Holzmedia’s Smart Planning concept, customized conference room solutions; one of the pioneers for biodynamic lighting solutions, Waldmann Group focused on “natural light for human needs”; contemporary office furniture manufacturer ASSMANN presented its selection of smart office choices from its storage space containers, its new Orgabox—a type of office tool box and pedestal that is stored in one’s personal locker—and Applica, a solution to hide cords and sockets.
A true point of attraction for office furniture and solutions, the trade fair Orgatec offered another year of top-notch products and reflection. Vitra organized its exhibition Work, inviting designers such as Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby,Konstantin Grcic, andRonan and Erwan Bouroullec to participate. Work filled an entire exhibition hall and showcased a representation of today’s working world through a range of new products, spatial elements and furnishing concepts.
Product-hunting during trade fairs can feel like walking down “endless halls of terrors” [Osgerby to ArchiExpo], which is one of the reasons why we need spaces created by selected designers to provide a moment of calm, reflection and interaction. Along with its invited designer team, Vitra turned hall 5.2 into a proper exhibition, a collage of office typologies, where visitors could visualize what the workplace should be today.
Vitra office concepts
An Airstream coffee truck gleaming to the right and a sea of gray-and-black-clad people murmuring, 10 meters further into Vitra’s “exhibition in an exhibition,” a café offered further comestibles and tables from which to consume them, including Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s circle benches installation.
The office is no longer a place of production, but connection. “With new technologies allowing us to work anywhere at any time, the end of the office has been predicted time and again. Yet the office still has not disappeared. Why is that?” asks Vitra CEO Nina Fehlbaum. “Because the need for direct, real-world exchanges and interactions remains unabated—and is evenon the rise with the growth of virtual applications.”
In addition to new and established Vitra products, it featured those from selected Vitra partners including Ruckstuhl, Wästberg, Bulthaup, Dinesen, Artek and others.
Bulthaup, the custom kitchen firm, created a watering-hole concept where employees can linger around a central water source and chat. Splashes of savanna grass and blond, heavily grained wood make rehydrating feel like an exotic adventure. Art Aqua had enough wall garden concepts to imagine even the drabbest council office as a rival to the Hanging Gardens.
Courtesy of bulthaup
“The office of today ought to support project work, spontaneous collaboration or mobile working, and be an open space for innovation and creativity,” said Vitra Germany CEO Rudolf Pütz. Pieces from Vitra’s home furnishing line, reflecting the larger trend in office furniture for darker, warmer wood with visible grain and highly tactile textiles like velvet and open weave twill in rich colors. It feels like home and for good reason. “In a time of strong disruption,” said Pütz, “the working environment increasingly becomes a strategic asset for the companies.”
Along the right side of the exhibition hall, there are a multitude of samples from its new office chair lines: Osgerby’s Pacific, Antonio Citterio’s ID Soft L and Alberto Meda’s AM. Without exception, men wandered over, feigned interest in the arm rests and after checking that no colleagues were watching, gleefully bottomed-out the seat.
“This is a performance in here,” said Pernilla Ohrstedt in the exhibition presentation video for vitra. Work was created in collaboration with architecture studio Pernilla Ohrstedt and the Los Angeles designer Jonathan Olivares.