High-performance surfaces for a famous brewery in Ethiopia
BGI Ethiopia, one of the largest brewers in the French Castel Group, entrusted the Rome-based Westway Architects firm with the design of its new headquarters, next to its factories in the centre of Addis Ababa. The renowned brewery wanted a very representative and impressive building that would powerfully relate to the urban context and the surrounding landscape. The main goal of the new headquarters is to express the corporate identity of a company that plays an important role in driving the Ethiopian economy. For all these reasons, the architects designed the façade to resemble a large beer mug, an original, yet institutional solution. The approach to the project was typically European, but respectful of the city’s traditions and context. Right on top of it, the building seems to unfold with a series of openings designed to ensure employees’ well-being. The building has eight floors and consists of a central core and two side wings.
Lea Ceramiche’s contribution
With the goal of combining two different building cultures, the traditional Ethiopian building structure – a reinforced concrete core and hollow concrete blocks with poor thermal performance – was flanked by a ventilated façade covered with Lea Ceramiche’s 3.5 mm-thick Slimtech surfaces, covering a total of 5500 square metres. The thin porcelain stoneware that wraps around the building recedes into the interior at certain points, becoming the cladding for the common areas and representing a continuous element between outside and inside. Slimtech includes slabs of record sizes (100×300 cm and 120×260 cm) characterised by an extraordinary lightness thanks to their reduced thickness, the result of a revolution in the traditional production process for resistant and flexible solutions. Lea Ceramica also made a significant contribution to the building’s interior with floor and wall coverings that fully express the brand’s product characteristics of strength, aesthetics and durability, offering exceptional performance that defies space and time. One of these is Protect® antibacterial technology, which protects surfaces 24 hours a day, eliminating up to 99.9% of bacteria.
Antibacterial performance became an essential part of this project, for which hygiene was a key requirement. This is why we used the material in all its forms and finishes on the floors, as well as in the building’s receptions and transit areas.
Arch. Maurizio Condoluci, Westway Architects
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Stoneglass® is a material produced by a process of dissolving and crystallization of silicon particles, very similar to the formation of natural granite. Stoneglass® retains all the properties of glass intact, and combines them with the qualities of stone.
A zero environmental impact product, the material is manufactured through a process that achieves crystallization without the use of resins or solvents, so it can be used with no risk to health and emits no odor. It does not contain any components or substances harmful to health, and it’s completely recyclable.
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