Workspaces for the new normal
e45 Genuine Italian Design
Following a design competition, the Italian-Japanese company SMC, a world-leading producer of pneumatic devices and components, awarded the project for the interior design of its new headquarters to the practice e45 Genuine Italian Design. The complex consists of a 5,000-square-metre three-floor office building and a 9,000-square-metre warehouse.
The architects remodelled the building’s volume to optimise spatial design and allow light to enter vertically through a large skylight. The decision to move the stairs towards the interior of the new layout freed up the two east and west façades, allowing the desks and closed offices to be positioned along the perimeter of the building and the meeting rooms moved close to the central courtyard where they are illuminated from above.
This large full-height space has become the centrepiece of the project and the hub around which all the main distribution routes are organised.
The project by e45 also responded to two other key requests from the client.
The first was for a versatile exhibition, conference and training centre. This was achieved using high-acoustic-performance partition walls, which enable the exhibition space to be quickly and easily converted into an event area, a training centre or a large meeting room.
The second request was to create an innovative space inside the warehouse where the international brand could showcase its products. This was done by creating a transparent walkway inside the main laboratories where customers could get a first-hand view of the devices and instruments developed and produced by the company and watch them in operation.
The concept developed by e45 combines the minimalist architecture typical of Japanese culture with the renowned Italian style and elegance. The clean, geometric shapes of the spaces create a sober and elegant environment. The blue colour of the SMC brand is echoed in the carpeting of the offices and coupled with the cool tones of materials such as the exposed concrete and large-format ceramic tiles.
The sandy Oyster colour chosen in a 90×90 cm size from the variety of shades available in Cotto d’Este’s Limestone collection takes centre stage in the reception area and central courtyard, as well as in the showroom and training rooms. The surface stands out for its delicate colours and an exceptional sense of depth, and was chosen here in the Natural finish with a light gloss effect that gives it a soft, warm feel. Limestone Oyster is also used in the innovative Application Center, where it was chosen for its hard-wearing qualities and to ensure colour continuity throughout the various spaces. Another surface that is used prominently in this project is the Metal collection of Kerlite 5Plus laminated porcelain stoneware chosen in the Iron colour and installed on an entire ten-metre high wall in the reception area. These ultra-thin, large-format surfaces are versatile, easy to use and extremely resilient thanks to their exclusive glass fibre reinforced backing. The Metal surface gives the space a smart, contemporary feel along with a powerful visual impact.
Kerlite 5Plus Metal and the Limestone collection are part of the Protect® line of high-performance antibacterial floor and wall tiles designed for healthy, safe living.
Cotto d'Este, Limestone, Metal
30x60 - 60x60 - 90x90 - 300x100 cm
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05 %
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): ULA-UHA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 145 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): conforme
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): conforme
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme