The thin silver line
A crossroads between the ancient and contemporary worlds, South Korea is home to ultramodern cities that at the same time are steeped in the culture and wisdom of the past. With its 600 years of history and 10 million inhabitants, its old buildings standing side by side with modern skyscrapers, the capital Seoul epitomises these contrasts. Gangnam, Seoul’s hippest and most exclusive district, is a kind of South Korean Beverly Hills made famous the world over by the quirky horse-riding dance of rapper Psy and its viral YouTube video. A year ago his Gangnam Style was performed by flash mobs the world over and was even used as a protest banner for artists of the calibre of Ai Weiwei.
Right in the heart of one of the most exclusive areas of Gangnam — the Yangjae Dong neighbourhood — stands a building that captivates attention for its exceptional level of design: a four-floor business centre with a fairly simple base structure and pure, essential forms dominated by an alternation of glass and steel.
The compositional pattern of the various sized windows and the interplay of glossy/matt surfaces creates a striking, almost Mondrian-style design in which horizontal and vertical rectangles alternate harmoniously. But the real source of the building’s unique beauty and personality is the band of Filo Argento ceramic panels from Laminam that envelops it completely in a splendid combination of technology and material/stylistic research. The resultant image is that of an iridescent thread that winds and twists its way repeatedly around the building, eventually melding into a glossy metallic skin. The visual effect created by Filo baffles the observer, while the natural curiosity aroused by the texture is fully satisfied by the material’s three-dimensionality, the pattern of lines that plays with light and creates an impression of large numbers of dots on the surface of the panel. With its thickness of just 3 millimetres and size of more than three square metres, this material revolutionises the concept of surface, opening up endless new possibilities for enveloping space and volumes and combining unique aesthetic qualities with innovative technical characteristics. Produced using a unique manufacturing technology, it is made from natural products such as quarried clay, granitic rocks and ceramic pigments that do not release substances into the environment and can easily be recycled in other production cycles.
The visually striking overall effect has a certain futuristic flavour, accentuated by the contradictions and urban complexity of the surrounding neighbourhood. Nonetheless, the welcome emergence of the roof terrace garden alludes to a quest for nature, to a vision of space that lightens the observer’s gaze and mitigates the looming presence of the surrounding built-up area.
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0.1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50 N/mm2
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant