ECwall is a patented system that was developed from the desire to incorporate lighting gaps and impressions of transparency within walls, transforming a concept linked to a one-off, artisan-made concept into an industrial design project, which still gives every professional the freedom to design and create. ECwall Sistema is a radical innovation project that merges design and architecture to offer a new technology and a new architectural tool, for redefining the concept of the partition. Extremely modular and with vast potential for personalization, the new system uses ceramic tiles’ potential in a new key, granting them a new role. It begins with the complexity of an architectural design, moving on through a process of synthesis, to reach a simple, stylish outcome. It acts as a contemporary, functional, flexible, customizable interior design feature, capable of giving new shapes to the space, the source of exclusive connotations and a special appeal. ECwall Sistema exploits complexity and technical expertise to generate a simple, elegant final product, offering new, unexpected expressive possibilities for designing, dividing, personalizing and lighting rooms.
ECWALL AND ARCHITECTURE
There’s always been a close relationship between the universe of ceramics and architecture. An eye for materials and building technology, for environmental sustainability and urban redevelopment, phenomena that take centre stage in the contemporary world, look like ECwall’s perfect setting to make a major contribution to the spreading of new expressive languages and new applications to a wide range of buildings and infrastructure for the local community.
TECHNOLOGY: THE SKELETON AND THE SKIN
Ecwall consists of a metal backing cladded with a ceramic skin; but with two breakthroughs though: a skin that may be removed, that is not inseparably joined to the surface that it has been installed on and that supports it; a skin that may accommodate holes and transparent sections.The inside backbone skeleton of the Ecwall consists of vertical and outer supporting risers and 1200 mm x 1200 mm steel plate modular units.
ECwall can integrate transparent sections and light-permeable cuttings into the ceramic tiling. One of the distinctive features of ECwall is the double value of the new solution, which may be used for cladding existing walls as well as for making partition walls. In either case, the surface may integrate open, permeable sections that may adjust the amount of light filtering through the wall or from the back. The principle is the same as that of the diaphragm of a camera, where the width of the opening affects the brightness as well as the ‘depth of field’ of the image.
ECwall brings an entirely new dimension to the world of ceramic tiling: depth, or better, three-dimensionality. The aim is to go beyond the concept of surface, of texture, and extend the potential interactions with ceramics accordingly. Three-dimensionality, then, as a ‘temporal dimension’, as well as a physical, accomplishable, multisensory dimension. In addition, from a functional point of view, the section of a wall built with ECwall may easily accommodate electric wires and any soundproofing material.
ECWALL AND LIGHT
ECwall includes a postproduction stage, which is essential to make the openings and the decorative patterns or to add transparent sections. A distinctive trait of these ‘windows’ cut at high pressure into the tiles is the angle between the cut and the surface, so that the width of the exposed section may suit the angle. This factor is key to a better three-dimensional perception, while increasing the amount of light perceived between one area and the next.
The experiments made while developing the ECwall found the onlooker’s perception to be a key detail. Supposing someone stands in front of a partition wall at right angles, then they will see the perimeter of the sections; if instead we take a different angle, a different axis, then they will see just some of the section of the partition wall. This is the key factor in the whole project. The mirrors installed on the wall virtually recreate a perception of depth and a reflection of light, even when the system leans against a wall underneath. The effect it want to achieve is actually a double one: a brighter interior and an atmospheric extension of space and perception.
NEW OPTIONS FOR DESIGNERS AND REAL BENEFITS FOR USERS
ECwall aspires to provide architects and designers with the creative potentials of this new solution and to enable all designers to make it their own, and use it as they deem fittest, depending on the project they are working at. This means having a reliable, versatile design tool, it means making things with ceramics that used to be made with other materials or couldn’t simply be made at all. At the same time, ECwall is a sort of ‘mould’ one can shape into very free patterns and templates. Another distinctive trait is its relation with light, the option to use transparency to let daylight in as well as integrate light sources and therefore artificial light. There’s a double value to it, then, a formal, perceptual and aesthetic value on one side, and a functional one on the other side. These are the features that users can experience themselves.
MODULES AND REARRANGEMENTS
Modularity is synonym with the streamlined preparation of a project for cladding a wall, building a partition wall or making any other construction with may be fit for ECwall. The underlying concept depends on the sizes the system is available in, the actual installation procedure, and the reduced number of parts to be finished in situ, with just the end-pieces needing to be trimmed. However, modularity also stands for the wide choice of patterns that can be created with ECwall, a product that combines the functional properties of a new device with brand-new formal values.
THE DESIGNER’S ABACUS
Designers now have a simple ‘abacus’ they can apply to a wide range of variants, rearrangements and combinations that widen the horizon of creativity and endlessly challenge them to come up with new, engaging uses. Such a wide range of options comes from the different layouts of the modular mesh backing panels, which may be assembled in a horizontal or vertical pattern. In turn, the alternation and recurrence of the courses dictate the layout of the tiles, where holes and cuttings are lined up at right angles. The abacus is completed by pieces with openings, frequent repetitions and differently sized ceramic modules, either 60x60cm or 60x120cm.
FIELDS OF APPLICATION
From the hotel industry to offices, from shopping-malls to boutiques, from museums to luxury homes, the EC wall Sistema finds its natural application wherever there is a need to redesign space with interior walls that also act as functional and contemporary pieces of furniture. The light distribution elements make it unique: the ability to integrate artificial light, through proper integrated light sources (LED), or natural filtered from the back wall. Transparency and light distribution means that the wall modifies and characterizes the physiognomy of the environment. It can create kaleidoscopic effects using a mirror system integrated within the wall system.
EASY TO USE CERAMICS AND MECHANICS
ECwall is simple and easy to install. Once the position of the wall has been chosen and the pattern of the tiles has been designed, all you need to do is assemble the metal backing. One by one, the modules are secured to each other and to the vertical and outer holding edges. If a partition wall, then the modular plates are secured on both sides. The installation is completed by holding the tiles in place with suckers, while the dowel screws are driven into the holes and along the guiding slots that keep them in place. Finally, the end-pieces are trimmed as needed before they are installed.
The advantages of ECwall are not just its being more versatile or offering more control over the wide range of available patterns – as they may be tested and changed during the installation – but it also saves money and, above all, it speeds up the installation process. Covering an entire wall with ECwall takes about 75% less time than a traditional installation method.
ECwalls may be easily assembled or disassembled, and every single piece may be reused. ECwall is a flexible system and is in tune with the latest trends in the world of architecture and building, where buildings need to have extremely complex structures even in densely populated areas. A trend that has gradually led to simplified procedures to speed up building projects through processes where for example glues have been replaced by dry installation. ECwall meets a key requirement, the fact it may be installed straightaway: while the frame of the building is being built, the interior partitions may be laid out, then tiled over later according to the designer’s project. The entire building process is organized in a way that impacts on the timeline and materials. That’s why it may be called a versatile system that fits in with the latest trends in architecture and environmental sustainability.