Euramax Applies the Power of Colour in Metal Cladding

Euramax Coated Products is an international coil coating specialist that supplies
pre-coated aluminium to roof and facade manufacturers worldwide. Euramax,
with plants in Roermond (the Netherlands) and Corby (UK), works with many
well-known manufacturers of facade systems, such as Hunter Douglas, Kingspan,
Rigidal, Kalzip, Tiger, Interfalz, Euroclad and Aluform.

Jorrit Scheepers,
architectural support coordinator within the Euramax team, is the liaison between
the architect and the paint plant: “In 2005 we had an interesting conversation
with Benoy architects during the Leading European Architects Forum (LEAF)
in London. In a later meeting at their London office we got in contact with Mike
Lewis, associate director at Benoy Middle East and head designer of the Ferrari
World project in Abu Dhabi. Initially Mike had a fabric in mind for the enormous
roof construction. During the meeting we suggested the option of using a
standing-seam type of product for the roof. This would allow him to opt for a finish
in high-gloss Ferrari Red.”

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Benoy Architects designed the Ferrari World roof inspired by the classic body
shell of the Ferrari GT. The curved roof and its high-gloss red finish are unique
style elements that relate to the iconic Ferrari brand.

“After some extensive
sampling Euramax came up with the right colours and paint configuration,” says Scheepers. “Our colours got specified and we were finally granted the order in
2008. First we supplied the aluminium for the 202,000m² roof (standing seam in 1.00mm from the Interfalz company); at a later stage we were awarded the order for the complete facade as well (2.00mm cassettes by Six Construct). In
total we supplied the staggering amount of 359,000m² of pre-painted aluminium
through different customers. All this aluminium came with the same warranty, and
even more importantly, with a uniform colour for all the roof and facade elements
of this skyline landmark, which opened its doors in November 2010.”

Harsh environment

Beyond its striking colour, it is important not to underestimate the qualitative
aspects of a coating system. “In case of the Ferrari World project we advised a
four-layer polyvinyl difluoride (PVDF) with a special Lumiflon clear coat,” says
Scheepers. “Not only is high-gloss Ferrari Red a very difficult colour, the project’s
specific circumstances are among the most challenging one can think of. Sea,
sand and intense solar radiation demand the maximum out of this coating.
Choosing the right paint configuration is of vital importance.”

Colour innovations

In addition to the uni and metallic colours that were used for Ferrari World, Euramax also offers a wide range of specialty coatings. The AluNatur range, for
example, highlights the natural beauty of aluminium using a series of transparent
and semi-transparent clear coats. EuraDesign, on the other hand, features precoated
designs that may vary from corten steel, patina copper and weathered zinc to wood grain and various other finishes. “Just recently we painted a green
grass design, but a moon landscape in PVDF could also be an option.”

Another interesting product is the EuraMica range, which is tailored to attract
attention. Mica pigments reflect their own colour or that of the base coat. This reflection
and refraction causes fascinating colour variations that change depending on the
viewing angle and incidence of light. Colour effects range from soft to very strong.
Ultimately a project-specific coating or design is not all that much more expensive
than a standard colour. Especially not if seen in terms of the whole facade system,
when you are often talking about 10% or less. And why would you want to save
on something that is so clearly visible, something that really makes a difference?

Challenge

Euramax offers more when it comes to colour. For instance, for a minimum order of
1500m² of facade panels, it can develop any new colour you wish. For a minimum
order of 500m², Euramax can suggest any of the thousands of colours and designs in its
current archive. Originally it is a supplier of pre-coated aluminium to the caravan
and motor-home markets, which means small quantities, special requests and a
high level of service. These values are ingrained in the company’s DNA. Therefore
it comes as no surprise that Euramax distinguishes itself in the architecture world.
Every request, from 500m² and up, is regarded as a challenge at Euramax.

Four Euramax projects

KLIA International Airport, Kuala Lumpur / Malaysia, EuraDesign Cherry Wood

Fuelled by economic growth and national pride, Malaysia has made its largest
airport, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), one of the top three international
hubs in Asia. Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa’s vision for the airport’s form and
materials incorporated influences from the surrounding cultural and natural environment.
KLIA’s design represents an example of this concept of symbiosis which
Kurokawa has described as an airport in the forest.

The architect incorporated elements from Malaysia’s forest environment into his
design. Aluminium strip ceilings in wood design from Hunter Douglas are installed
throughout the 121,000m² building, supported by what Architectural Record calls ‘a grid of trunk-like columns that evokes a Malaysian oil palm plantation.’ The ceilings
connect visitors to their surroundings, with scattered integrated downlights that
resemble a starlit sky.

Kurokawa told a local newspaper that the design of KLIA represents a ‘fusion
between nature and high technology.’ He illustrated this by siting the state-of-the-art airport in the middle of a tropical garden, creating a contrast between the
modern steel structure and the surrounding lush growth.

World Expo 2010 Culture Centre, Shanghai / China, EuraMica Pearl White

The Culture Centre is one of four permanent pavilions for Expo 2010. Its oval
shape resembles a flying saucer that seems to have landed from outer space.
Viewed from a boat on Shanghai’s Huangpu River, it hovers over the water’s edge
like a seashell.

The Expo Culture Centre, designed by Shanghai architect Wang Xiao’an, won
first prize in the Shanghai category of the 2010 Far Eastern Architectural Design
Award, a Taipei-based architecture prize honouring innovation in Shanghai and
Taiwan.

“China has huge opportunities for architects but many works are designed in
foreign collaboration,” said judge Zheng Shiling, director of the Institute of Architecture
and Urban Space at Shanghai’s Tongji University and a consultant to the World
Expo. According to Zheng the building has a stunningly complicated structure.

The Culture Centre’s cladding consists of nearly 30,000 triangular-shaped
honeycomb panels in XXL size. This extraordinary size could only be achieved
using wide-coil aluminium, 2,000mm in width. The pearlescent, high-gloss,
EuraMica finish gives the building a crisp, fresh exterior. At night, especially, the
light reflection makes the Culture Centre a mystifying landmark.

Retail Park, Roermond / Netherlands, EuraMica Purple Blue

Architect Maurice Nio chose a high-contrast EuraMica shade of purple / blue. The
Roermond Retail Park is situated along one of the main roads to the city centre.
Its special colour attracts a lot of attention. Whether one likes it or not, the colour
formula is a successful one. Meanwhile lots of curious visitors have ensured a third
expansion of the Park. Again the choice of the architect fell on EuraMica.

Maastoren, Rotterdam / Netherlands, EuraBild Gray to White

Its 21 colours allow the Maastoren in Rotterdam, the tallest building in the Netherlands,
to blend into its surroundings. A good example of a project in which colour
played a significant role in the conception of the aluminium facade. Diederik Dam,
the project’s architect, wanted to make the Maastoren mesh with its setting by
using a gradual progression of colour for the building. “Whereas the base is made
of anthracite-coloured natural stone that connects well with the Maas river, the aluminium
façade cladding rising above it had to blend into the sky,” he says. The initial
proposal included 64 colours, from which the architect ultimately selected 21. The
result is impressive and the architect is pleased with it: this is not a skyscraper,
says Dam, but a sky-caresser.

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