Choice of material is an extremely important one that could make or break an architecture or interior design. Hence, The One Academy School of Interior Design incorporated the ID Material Day as part of its meticulous and systematic teaching approach and, this year, invited Gilles Hemery, Commercial and Marketing Manager - EQUITONE facade materials – ETEX Asia Pacific to introduce his company’s product, the versatile, durable and sustainable fibre cement.
Fibre cement has been around for a long time. This material has been in existence since the 1950s, originating from Austria and invented by Ludwig Hatscheck in the 19th century. Standing tough through the tide of time, rich in history and it was made accessible through EQUITONE, the company that produces this material for architectural and interior design firms since the 1950s, this company has also specialised in architectural façade for the past 40 years. Through numerous focus groups done worldwide, the company learnt that architects search for the same things – durability of the material, great texture, authenticity and sustainability when seeking out materials that will complement their project design.
After all, a façade is an architect’s signature. It is seen on the streets and will be the first thing we see before entering a building. It gives us the first and lasting impression. Therefore, it is important that the material is of top quality and withstand the extreme outdoor weather without wearing out due to the heat or grow mold in the rain. The fibre cement, when installed properly, can overcome these extreme weathers. It is adaptable to various functionality, be in outdoors or indoors.
As the students learnt in the sharing session, the fibre cement is popular among architects all over the world which is the main structure for many aesthetic buildings all over the world including the Johann Sebastian Bach Concert Hall, Kothen, Germany; Festival Hall for the Tyrolean Festspiele, Erl; Austria Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, Vienna; Henning Larsen Architects, Denmark; Berg Design Architecture, New York; Long Beach villa house, USA; and more, overcoming obstacles and environmental variables like high rise, high humidity, material mix.
Gilles also challenged students to break the rules and that it’s okay even if their design does not meet their material specifications. As he has experienced, as long as the architects work together with their suppliers, they will be able to come up with a mutual solution that could further enhance their project design through many trials and errors. For example, even though the product cannot be bent, it still can be part of a curved building, if its panels are done in segments.
After the sharing session, students had the opportunity to feel the quality of the material in an exhibition booth set up at The One Academy while interacting with representatives from EQUITONE to quench their curiousity on the material’s characteristics and usage.