Diego De Pol
The new Vulcangas headquarters has become an architectural manifesto for Società Italiana Gas Liquidi S.p.A., a leading Italian player in the field of clean energy distribution. The office building was designed by Studio Simonetti Srl in accordance with principles of bioclimatic architecture with the specific aim of reducing its environmental footprint. The building is located in Poggio Torriana close to the river Marecchia in an industrial area surrounded by open countryside and just a few kilometres from the sea, a fragile ecosystem in urgent need of preservation. The architects chose spruce laminate, an abundant natural material, for the structure, roof, floors, wall panelling and doors. «Every cubic metre of concrete that is replaced by wood means one less tonne of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, the same effect as taking 100 cars off the road,» they explained. «The dry construction system also helps reduce building times and costs, while the potential for recycling individual components brings benefits throughout the building’s life cycle.»
The volume was designed taking account of the angle of the sun and natural ventilation when planning the spaces and the envelope.
The north side, adjacent to other buildings, is protected by a compact wood wall that folds over onto the roof and extends as far as the glazed south and west facades. Although designed to capture the maximum solar radiation and natural light, the transparent façades are partially screened by an overhanging section of the roof, which juts out most noticeably on the west side. The entrance in front of the lobby and reception is protected from excessive sunlight by a full-height porticoed space displaying the Vulcangas logo.
To optimise interior comfort and reduce indoor pollution, the work spaces are designed with easily recyclable materials and earth tones. The lobby, offices and meeting rooms also feature custom-designed furnishing accessories, photos and art works. At night, thanks to a meticulously-designed lighting project, the glazed building stands out in the landscape like a magic lantern.
For the interiors, exteriors and stairs, the designers chose the technical and aesthetic qualities of stone-look ceramic from Laminam. A material that avoids causing further damage to already depleted marble quarries, the I Naturali collection comes in 1000×3000 mm size surfaces with a thickness of just 5.6 mm.
This material is also extremely resistant to scratching, abrasion and staining and guarantees durability and long-term sustainability.
Large Emperador Grigio Spazzolato version panels with a dark colour and strong visual impact were chosen for both the interior and exterior. In the entrance lobby, an aerial backlit staircase with a customised glass parapet runs in front of the wood-panelled wall. Ceramic steps made of
Pietra di Savoia Grigia Bocciardata lead to the first floor where the chairman’s offices and meeting rooms are located.
Laminam, I Naturali
Emperador Grigio Spazzolato - Pietra di Savoia Grigia Bocciardata
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,3%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 175 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 > Emperador, R10 > Pietra di Savoia
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant