A modern and productive town, which occupies a central position in the economic and cultural development of Val Seriana, Clusone is located in the north of the province of Bergamo, on a large sunny plateau surrounded by mountains of the Bergamo Alps and the Selva pine forest. In addition to its laborious nature, this area is characterised by numerous works of art, the most noteworthy being the precious frescoes located within the central Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption.
A few hundred metres further down from the city centre is the craftworks area. And here, the visitor's attention is immediately captured by a modern construction, completely covered in glass and steel. It belongs to Ecoforum, a modern administration centre featuring a strong architectural identity. From the initial design phase, entrusted to the De8 Architectural studio in Bergamo, much focus was in fact directed at the eco-sustainability of the building. As the name "Ecoforum" suggests, its main aim is the reduction of environmental impact achieved through the use of advanced technologies that fully exploit developments in renewable energy.
The feather in the cap of the building is the "double-skinned" façade. Produced by Stahlbau Pichler, these consist of two glass surfaces separated by a gap in which air – cool in summer and warm in winter – flows, ensuring a high degree of insulation fro the structure and avoiding the waste of energy. Thanks to these measures, the building has an internal climate whereby comfort levels are maintained by a continuous air circulation system. The design of this thermal insulation system required the development of complex thermodynamic models that took into account different variables including latitude, position, orientation, and the irradiation of each façade.
From the choice of construction technologies to the selection of materials and colours used, the objective of seeking total harmony with the surrounding environment is evident. The glass panes are all low-emissivity windows and the colours were chosen to blend harmoniously with the surrounding environment. Glass, steel and aluminium are arranged in shades of green and the natural reflections augment the sensation of total immersion soaking in the mountainous landscape. The attention to every detail that characterises the project was also applied with respect to the external lighting. The long façades in fact have led strip lighting inserted between the double panes and spotlights have been installed in the corners of the building to emphasise the profile of the building as night falls.
The ground-floor foyer is an impressive entrance hall and the hub from which the various administrative units branch out in various directions and where 3 lifts provide access to the other floors. On the top floor are the offices of Percassi Realty Group, the company which commissioned and constructed the complex. As soon as you enter you find yourself at reception, with a very stylish counter in Cor-Ten type steel. The importance given to making visitors feel welcome is evident in the small but comfortable lounge area, located to the left of the entrance but separated by a glass wall to cut out the noise. Here guests can while away the time reading a magazine or newspaper or enjoying a good cup of coffee.
A corridor – illuminated by a Barrisol stretched ceiling which provides an almost natural glow and with a well-kept interior garden running along the sides conveying a sense of peace and tranquillity – leads to the large meeting room. Here an imposing rectangular table surrounded by chairs in black leather hosts the important decision-making moments.
In such a modern and advanced building, the electrical system, could not have been neglected. It was therefore decided to take advantage of the Vimar By-me home automation system. Giancarlo Scandella, part-owner with his father of the firm that designed the electrical system, explains that the choice was based on several criteria. The possibility to optimise space, for one, by being able to control all the devices from a single point. And it was also crucial that the system was able to provide a high degree of flexibility in case a room was used for a different purpose or a wall was moved, allowing changes to implemented quickly and easily without structural interventions, just by reprogramming the settings of the devices. And last but not least, the possibility of eliminating any type of energy waste.
To this end, the Vimar presence detector devices have proved to be very useful in covering different strategic points to ensure that the lighting is only activated when people are present in the area.
The heart of the By-me system is the home automation control unit, from which the entire home automation system can be programmed and the desired scenarios can be set. The "off" scenario is connected to an event so that at the stroke of 10 p.m. and midnight all the lights in the offices are switched off. Another "security" scenario switches on all the lighting in the main areas, should the sensors placed at the doors and windows reveal a break-in during the night.
An elegant touch screen positioned at the front desk allows control of all the lights as well as the adjustment of more than 40 screens which limit the copious amounts of sunlight entering the building through the glass walls during the summer. By lightly touching the touch screen, it is possible to control the screens both individually and in groups or, alternatively, the automation buttons in every room allow for local control of each screen.
The plaques that frame all the Vimar devices add further elegance to every room. The charm of the Eikon Evo series in fact fits perfectly with this advanced system which provides an enormous variety of solutions. The angled and decisive forms combine with well-defined edges for a strong and refined design. Buttons, controls, functions and frames are all in satin silver while the plaques are in aluminium in the grey Next colour; the client also requested the personalised touch of having the logo of the Percassi group laser engraved on each of them.
Finally, security is managed by the CCTV system cameras and ELVOX video door entry plates, with alphanumeric keypads and biometric sensors that monitor all accesses.
Looking to the future, but aware and proud of their roots. This is what some of the antique tools used as decoration seem to communicate in their testimony of an era in which the advent of technology had yet to manifest itself in the construction field. Modernity and tradition, technology and the environment, harmony and maximum functionality; combinations which liken the "enlightened" expression of this building to the products and philosophy of Vimar, always ready to anticipate the needs of the market with increasingly innovative solutions, on the back of its strong 65-year history.