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Perfumery - behind the steel curtain

18 of December '23

Progress Architecture's mobile braided steel mesh curtains in a realization by JEMS Architects.

When a developer believes that you can build well or not at all, extraordinary things are created. From a combination of passion, ambition and modern technology, an extraordinary residential project can be woven, of which the mobile braided steel mesh curtain s of the Polish brand Progress Architecture are a striking symbol.

Garvest Real Estate is a boutique equity fund that creates innovative projects in the premium real estate segment. It has such spectacular developments as the Bałtyk office building and the Pixel complex in Poznań and the Vienna House Hotel in Warsaw's Mokotów district. Their latest investment is a luxury residential development, actually a development of a historic quarter next to Poznan's Wilson Park. On a unique plot in the city center: on the site of the former representative district of Johowa, which is a unique example of urban Art Nouveau on a Polish scale, with a spectacular view of the downtown park and the elegant townhouses surrounding it. Dating back to the early 20th century, the Johowa District, built to keep the German elite in Poznań, was designed by Berlin architects according to the best models of the school there - the challenge was ambitious!

Photo: Dominika Wilk Photography © Progress Architecture

The task of blending modern buildings into the park and the unique historical context was entrusted to architects from the JEMS Architekci team. This is one of the most recognized Polish studios, with many spectacular office, residential and public utility projects to its credit. JEMS-i set about finding non-standard solutions that would optimally integrate the architecture into the surroundings and at the same time highlight the extraordinary qualities of the location.

On the one-acre plot, the architects arranged solids of expressive, dynamic form, turning them towards the park. The free, but orderly form of the houses with their tectonics, proportions, delicate façade faults and quality of finishing allude to the character of an exclusive neighborhood. Hidden in the greenery, the buildings look like an extension of the garden, their curved facades obscured by a silver veil of netting seem to give way to the crown of the trees, growing into the park vegetation.

Photo: Dominika Wilk Photography © Progress Architecture

For such an unusual location, the architects were looking for a formal and aesthetic distinguishing feature that would allow the project to resonate and provide a worthy neighbor to the frontage of the imposing tenement houses along Matejki Street. The detail that decided the character of the project and de facto defined the selected elevations turned out to be the concept of obscuring the balconies-loggias with a kind of mobile, automatically controlled curtain made of flexible stainless steel woven mesh. Looking from inside the apartment, framed by steel curtains, the balconies-loggias are a passe partout for the vivid image created by the dense greenery visible outside the window. The privilege of designing in a location practically within the park - in addition to the obvious pleasures of being close to nature - also placed heavy functional demands on the designers and developer. The materials used had to demonstrate resistance to considerable humidity and shading, interspersed with intense sunlight on the upper floors.

Photo: Dominika Wilk Photography © Progress Architecture

The architects' choice was a metal fabric in the form of stainless steel woven mesh FEBE S200811, which is a characteristic movable screen that provides more privacy to the loggias open to the park, turning them into an additional outdoor room, so to speak. The loose weave of the mesh gives the effect of a sliding curtain and good breathability. It protects from the sun and outside eyes, while offering residents a virtually unobstructed view of the park. The automatic drive means ease of operation, and the curves of the loggia encourage experimentation with partial obscuring of the space at will - making the facades alive and creating a very natural effect of blending with the layers of centuries-old park greenery. In terms of use, steel fabric not subject to harsh weather conditions means trouble-free operation over time. Proper selection of a grade of acid-resistant stainless steel ensures optimal corrosion resistance, color uniformity and ease of cleaning the fabric.

Photo: Dominika Wilk Photography © Progress Architecture

In the first stage, metal mesh manufacturers from all over the world were considered, but the final choice fell on the Polish company Progress Architecture, with which JEMS Architects has already successfully collaborated on projects such as the Polish Embassy in Berlin, the Greenwings office building in Warsaw and LPP in Gdansk. The choice was determined by the good experience of previous cooperation, the exceptional level of commitment of the construction team on the part of Progress Architecture and the completeness and quality guarantee of the certified solutions.

The mockup prepared by Progress Architecture beat the competition in terms of flexibility of technical possibilities and their adaptation to the conditions of the facility. In order to achieve optimal translucency, minimal weight and a visual effect matching the vision of the designer and investor, several types of braided mesh with different parameters were made. The quality and repeatability of the material was also of great importance.

Photo: Dominika Wilk Photography © Progress Architecture

With projects of such stature as the Perfumery building complex in Wilson Park, we always work with one hundred percent involvement already at the stage of prototypes. Our engineers and technologists, knowing the purpose and specifics of the issue, work together with architects to find the best possible solutions. The entire custom design process is based on close interaction to achieve the expected parameters. Only in this way can both sides of the process sign off on the project and take full responsibility for it. Excellent technical support for Progress Architecture systems is our hallmark.

- Tomasz Oszczepalski says,
President of Progress Architecture

In the case of this order, the issue of the weight of the mesh as a requirement of the sliding system and the drives used had to be resolved. We had to propose such a modified product that would retain all the desired properties, while being light enough to make the sliding and unrolling of the woven mesh curtains smooth.

- Grzegorz Maj adds,
Architectural Sales & Technical Manager
leading the Perfumery project on Progress Architecture's side

Metal mesh from the kitchen

Braided mesh, such as FEBE mesh, is most often installed in a stretched arrangement with crimps at the top and bottom. To achieve the effect of flowing fabric, a custom installation in a 90-degree inverted arrangement was used. The inverted arrangement makes it possible to achieve a rippling effect of the curtain structure. Importantly, the FEBE S200811PA mesh does not warp. The entire system was tested at the ITB for the required number of opening and closing cycles. The test required 10,000 cycles, and almost twice as many trials were conducted - meaning more than 50 years of use were tested. Similarly, the bursting properties of the fixings and the product itself were under the magnifying glass. To ensure color repeatability, the meshes are etched and washed, guaranteeing a surface quality that is free of corrosive contaminants. Practical observations of other realizations from the Progress Architecture portfolio prove that the process of color change is unnoticeable within several years of use. In turn, the use of appropriate grades of acid-resistant stainless steel adapted to the corrosivity class of the environment allows to achieve a lasting effect of building without corrosion. Braided mesh facades are also spontaneously washed by precipitation, which, with the material used and its smooth surface, makes such facades virtually maintenance-free.

Photo: Dominika Wilk Photography © Progress Architecture

Metal grids and meshes are not just building materials - they are design elements that represent the highest standard of architectural finishes. Their intricate patterns, textures and three-dimensional effects add depth and character. With the play of light and shadow, the appearance of a building evolves, and the variable color palette of various types of steel (stainless, galvanized, aluminum, copper, brass and bronze) creates virtually endless possibilities for transforming spaces into visual masterpieces.

In addition to the aesthetic side, the practical advantages of these materials in both interior applications (including: ceiling and wall systems) and exterior applications (including: facades, balustrades or fences) are of great importance. Braided metal meshes can act as sunshades, offering energy-saving solutions by reducing heat buildup on building surfaces while allowing natural light to pass through. Additionally, they can improve security by acting as protective barriers or providing privacy. Welded grilles, on the other hand, offer minimalist design and discipline of form. They are often used on facades, ceilings, but also on the surfaces of footbridges, bridges or stairs. Their high load-bearing capacity and structural integrity make them ideal for heavy-duty applications without compromising on aesthetics.

Photo: Dominika Wilk Photography © Progress Architecture

The enormous potential of architectural woven mesh and architectural grids has been recognized by established design teams both in Poland and around the world. Progress Architecture has an inspiring portfolio of projects with the most renowned architectural studios, including JEMS Architects, APA Wojciechowski, Kurylowicz & Associates, Atelier Loegler, Maison Edouard François, Wilmotte & Associés and David Chipperfield Architects.

We have been using the novel and innovative solutions of PROGRESS ARCHITECTURE continuously for more than two decades. The incredible potential of architectural grids and grids often makes them one of the most recognizable design elements, and common realizations are impressive even many years after their commissioning. We especially appreciate the commitment and professional support and advice at every stage of the project. They are a proven partner in creative space shaping.

- Marcin Sadowski,
partner and associate at JEMS Architekci

* * *

PROGRESS ARCHITECTURE is a manufacturer and supplier of the highest quality solutionś in the area of architectural finishes. The system grids and grids in the company's offer shape the image of modern architecture, inspiring investors and designers. The company has more than 30 years of experience, 3 manufacturing plants located in Poland, equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and a materials laboratory. It is a team of 300 specialists in engineering, production technology and design.

Progress Architecture's ambition is to stay ahead of market needs and create positive changes in the areas of design, technology and environmental impact. Metal grids and grilles are innovative products that set̨ new standards of quality in modern architecture and interior finishing. At the same time, the company continuously invests in research and develops new technical solutions and installation systems. Concern for the environment, its regeneration and conservation of resources is Progress Architecture's commitment to the planet.

Mesh and grille systems are manufactured in Poland from renewable raw materials, and every stage of their production and related logistics is subject to continuous verification for environmental performance. The company's priority is to create a catalog of environmentally friendly products that allow for increased energy efficiency and building comfort.

The uniqueness of Progress Architecture's offering is contained̨ in the completeness of its service: The customer receives a complete product from a single source. Progress Architecture offers a finite product from the production of any type of mesh or architectural grid in a wide range (woven, woven-wire, spiral, expanded, perforated, welded grids with different configurations of profiles and crosspieces), through catalog or custom-designed fastening systems, to dedicated technical support for each topic during the on-site installation phase.

With an in-house support team of architects, building designers, constructors and mechanics with the help of factory technologists, we support our clients right from the concept and solution development stage. Cooperation with Progress Architecture is a guarantee of the highest and consistent quality, and at the same time an excellent base for architects and designers, encouraging them to experiment and creatively go beyond proven solutions.

For more information, visit the company's Progress Architecture page on the A&B portal.

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