Sustainable construction: the virtuous example of Datalogic
Architecture that combines form and function, good aesthetics and respect for place, people and the environment is no longer wishful thinking. This is clearly demonstrated by the new German headquarters of Datalogic, an Italian brand and international leader in the field of digital readers for the manufacturing, logistics, transport and retail sectors.
The more than 2,500-square-metre building recently opened by the company in Langen, between Darmstadt and Frankfurt am Main, consists of a basement level for parking and three above-ground floors and has a distinctly contemporary look due to the use of innovative, high-performance and environmentally friendly materials. Designed by Bologna-based architect Franco Ghedini, the structure stands out for its façade clad with Italian-made tiles from Florim, a company that has been producing large porcelain stoneware tiles and slabs for more than sixty years. In 2020, Florim became one of the 130 Italian B Corp-certified companies (out of more than 4,500 worldwide) with a regenerative business model that combines a low environmental footprint with the twin goals of creating shared value for society and regenerating the biosphere.
All four sides of the building have a rainscreen façade installed using the Florim Magnum S1 anchoring system (which has obtained the important ETA European Technical Assessment certification) and a cladding in which large windows alternate with Magnum Oversize 80×240 cm porcelain stoneware slabs chosen in the sober Moka colour from the Industrial collection. „The Langen building is the third Datalogic structure in which I have incorporated a porcelain rainscreen façade produced by the Florim group,“ says architect Franco Ghedini. „And just like the other two – the first in Monte San Pietro (Bologna) in Italy and the second in Hatfield, America – the results were truly outstanding. It brings a dash of Italian style and is admired by customers and residents, as well as by people who are simply passing through Langen.“ But it’s not just a question of aesthetics, explains the architect. Rainscreen façades have many advantages and are becoming increasingly popular amongst architects working in the field of sustainable design. „We opted for large, very thin panels that combine exceptional design versatility with a novel spatial concept. They promote creativity because they are extremely versatile and are not as constricting as other older formats. They also have excellent long-term performance and minimal maintenance requirements. They are highly resistant to stress and wear and, crucially for the environment and the wellbeing of the people working in the building, deliver energy savings, sound insulation and improved health.“ Could rainscreen façades be the new sustainable face of green buildings in the years to come?