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Designmesh: Façade shell as fall guard protection

As part of a complete refurbishment, an extension has been added to the branch of the venerable Pfister furniture store in Contone, Switzerland. In addition, the building was to receive a new façade that meets the latest energy efficiency standards. When on the lookout for fall guard protection with an appealing look, the Tricara firm of architects from Zurich opted for Lago Special metal mesh from GKD – GEBR. KUFFERATH AG.

Founded in 1882 as a small furniture workshop, the Pfister furniture store now boasts around 20 branches all over Switzerland, making it one of the largest specialist retailers of its type in the country. During the course of a complete refurbishment, the two-story branch in Contone, which was built in 1967 and extended in 1988, was structurally reinforced and given a new solid-structure wing. Since its completion, the furniture store now has a floor area of 8,000 square meters. As a part of this refurbishment, the external emergency escape route was replaced with a steel construction. The ten-meter-high walkway is approximately 80 meters long with four emergency staircases and four escape doors. As fall guide protection for this walkway, the owner was on the lookout for a solution that is functional and attractive in equal measure – and ultimately opted for façade cladding consisting of metal mesh from GKD, for which 19 bright red panels made of a customized version of Lago stainless steel mesh were fastened to the screwed steel construction. The panels, each measuring 5.8 meters wide and nine meters long, were vertically tensioned over the entire height of the building. The open mesh structure allows daylight to enter the emergency exit route and the rooms behind it while at the same time protecting from glare, thus reducing energy requirements for artificial lighting and providing a more pleasant atmosphere for building users. At the same time, the transparent mesh grants unhindered views from the inside of the building to the outside world. The location of the building and the changeable weather conditions typical of the region – sun, wind, rain or snow – place tough demands on the durability of the mesh. The chosen mesh type made of coated stainless steel meets these demands and offers the required durability. To fasten the mesh to the steel structure, the tried and tested round rod and eyebolt system was once again the solution of choice. The result is a visually seamless, bright red façade shell that combines functional safety with an attractive design. Its unlimited service life and freedom from maintenance underline the sustainability of the investment.

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