Sculptural, sustainable, with a shimmering “skin” that appears to reproduce the iridescence of the sea, the World Trade Centre Propellergatan in Malmö, Sweden was designed in 2019 by architect Anders Blomqvist Carsten. It is an environmentally friendly building thanks to its insulating ventilated façade. “We don’t use stone walls much in Sweden, so we opted for a ventilated façade, a lightweight construction that guarantees thermal insulation and at the same time prevents the formation of damp and mould,” says the architect. It is a ceramic façade created using Diamante Boa tiles from Casalgrande Padana, a glazed three-dimensional porcelain tile designed by Alfonso Femia from the practice Atelier(s) Alfonso Femia. Thanks to its high-gloss surface and diamond-like faces, it has an ever-changing appearance determined by shifting reflections and chiaroscuro contrasts. The tiles used in this project are enhanced by the Bios Self-Cleaning® treatment, a technology that uses sunlight to trigger a reaction capable of breaking down both airborne pollutants and organic and inorganic dirt that deposits on the surface. The dirt is then removed by rainwater thanks to the superhydrophilic nature of the ceramic surface.
“The project had a very clear starting point determined by the conditions of the site,” says the architect. “A unique, solitary building, it is well-proportioned in relation to the sightlines and heights of the surrounding buildings, with a finish that is distinctive but harmonious and adapted to the street level. Extending over two levels and projecting onto the street, the architectural design creates a line of sight that leads towards the harbour and the nearby sea. “The design of the volume and the material chosen for the ventilated façade are inspired by the waves of the sea and the shimmering surface of the water in the harbour. In the two-storey design of the building’s volume, the double-curved glass has an organic form, and the façade interacts with the oblique pillars to convey a sense of vitality and movement, but also to contrast with the interplay of right-angled lines of the main volume.”
The World Trade Center is home to offices, restaurants, gyms, shops and banks and more than 200 company headquarters, and upward of 1900 people work here. The top floors were designed with variable recesses that maintain a constant dialogue with the landscape and the surrounding built environment. “The façade composition consists of a series of geometric shapes woven together into an overall system, which in turn is subdivided into more finely aligned geometric patterns that resemble a “pixelated” reflection of the shimmering surface of the water.”