Italian tile for a project with African roots
Cosmopolitan and efficient, the new Terminal 3 of Kotoka International Airport in Accra is now Ghana’s most important airport and is on track to become one of the largest hubs in the African continent with flows of around 1,250 passengers per hour and a target of 5 million passengers a year. The terminal came into operation in September 2018, marking the latest addition to a structure originally used by the British Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Transformed by President Kwame Nkrumah into the new Accra International Airport, in 1969 it was finally renamed Kotoka International Airport in honour of Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka, a member of the National Liberation Council who was killed in a failed coup at a spot which is now part of the airport forecourt.
The new terminal, designed by Turkish construction firm Mapa Construction MNG Holding, offers international-level services and standards of efficiency, including ePassport gates and an automated luggage transport system featuring the latest scanning technology. But while being an efficient, international-level airport, Kotoka is also keen to maintain its African identity, welcoming passengers in spaces that reflect local decorative traditions. Consequently, the floors, walls, canopy roofs and desks stand out for their geometric motifs in a palette of dark and light blues, greys and whites.
The Italian company Cooperativa Ceramica d’Imola contributed to the interior design project by supplying ceramic floor tiles that combine visual appeal with the high levels of efficiency, durability, safety and hygiene that are essential for use in an airport. The Architecture collection full-body porcelain tiles from the Leonardo brand were chosen in a 120×120 cm size and colour Almond for the approximately 35,000 sq.m of floors. The uniform pale-coloured surface is interspersed here and there with smaller 60×60 cm size tiles in other colours cut into triangular shapes to create decorative motifs specially designed for each individual area. The composition of these shapes and sizes plays an important role in the large central concourse, where a sequence of squares formed from triangular tiles of different colours reflect the wall decorations and the blue glass panels of the furnishing accessories, as well as the intertwining pattern of the ceiling girders. In the same concourse, long light and dark grey coloured stripes accompany the check-in queues and visually delimit the transit spaces, while the luggage collection area features grey, linear floor designs that mimic the shape of the conveyor belt. In the other areas of the terminal the prevalence of pale-coloured tiles means they play a more discreet but nonetheless essential role, providing colour and material uniformity to the floors in the transit and entrance areas.