Japanese atmospheres in the heart of Germany
The renowned Japanese professional power tool manufacturer Makita Corporation recently opened one of its most prestigious global branches at Ratingen, not far from Dusseldorf in the heart of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Home for more than fifty years to the largest Japanese community in Europe, the town has been chosen by many leading Japanese companies as the site for their European subsidiaries.
The Makita headquarters is the work of design firm Takenaka, a century-old giant in the general contractor sector employing more than a thousand architects at offices in over twenty countries worldwide. „Our strength lies in our ability to dialogue with the local area, to adapt our projects to the different environments in which they are located in a spirit of localisation, helping to create ideal communities through architecture that is innovative, sustainable, safe, enjoyable and above all people-friendly,“ says Toichi Takenaka. „Our projects are based on the idea that a building is not a construct but a work of art. After all, this was the guiding concept of classical western antiquity in which architecture was the very first art form. To this we add Japanese philosophy, with its criteria of simplicity and calm.“
The building created for Makita makes extensive reference to Japanese tradition: the solemn and high-ceilinged central room with its quiet, scenic spaces and two side wings for working and living; the roof that is gently angled so as not to obstruct the ingress of natural light; the choice of neutral materials that do not visually impose themselves on the emotions but suggest a sense of quiet and simplicity… all this is pure Japan, that intense sobriety that appealed so strongly to architects such as Walter Gropius and Egon Eiermann. The two-floor building extends over an area of 45,000 sq.m and accommodates offices, showrooms, warehouses, a deliveries area, a workshop and a training centre.
The showroom and office area consist of seven meeting rooms and four sets of workstations (with a total of 140 workspaces), purpose designed and equipped with cutting-edge technologies.
The formal simplicity of the lobby and office spaces is accentuated by the floor coverings, which consist of pale coloured porcelain tiles in a large 45×90 cm size from Casa dolce casa’s Pietra Mediterranea collection.
The „Pietra Mediterranea“ natural stone has always been popular as a paving material for its pleasantly intense warm colours and brown streaks, and provided the inspiration for this line of tiles that combines a natural appearance with outstanding technology and performance.
As a whole, the project faithfully reflects the message that the company intends to convey, that of a long tradition together with a modern, hi-tech character.
Casa dolce casa, Pietra Mediterranea series
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <0,10%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA - ULA - UHA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): <150 mm2
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >40N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant