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Deerns scoops a win at Façade Awards!

8 November 2023 – Deerns has received the ultimate accolade at the Façade 2023 Design and Engineering Awards by winning the ‘Project of the Year - Refurbishment International’ category.

Andrea Martiradonna

Deerns’ sector-leading work on Luxottica’s Digital Factory received top accolade at the prestigious Façade 2023 Design and Engineering Awards held at the London Hilton on Park Lane on 8 November 2023. These annual awards acknowledge outstanding accomplishments and expertise in the field of façade engineering and aim to raise the profile of this important discipline.

Innovating Luxottica’s Digital Factory

Designed by architectural firm, Park Associati, and LEED Gold certified, the Digital Factory for leading eyewear manufacturer, Luxottica, in Milan was completed in June 2022. Deerns Italy was responsible for façade engineering consultancy and engineering during the entire scope of works, from concept design, through design development and executive design, to the construction phase.

A retrofit of the former General Electric factory, a last century factory building with a strong industrial soul, the intention was to give the building a contemporary new identity that contributes towards the urban revitalisation of the trendy via Tortona area.

The design sought to showcase the building’s archetypal industrial elements – the shed-style roof, wide spaces, and reinforced concrete grid. With a façade area of approximately 4,600m2, the building envelope is the outcome of extensive technological and structural research aimed at giving the building maximum transparency and natural lighting.

Wellbeing and Sustainability

The façades contribute to the project’s holistic sustainability strategy through strict energy performance criteria, with significant insulation levels for both opaque and glazed windows. These greatly reduce energy consumption during winter, and the shading systems on the south-facing façade help to reduce solar radiation loads. This passive strategy optimises the building’s mechanical systems.

The glazed façade also contributes to daylighting levels and allow views out. These criteria, which were evaluated according to LEED and WELL standards, enhance wellbeing for occupants in terms of visual comfort and mental health. Furthermore, the choice of façade materials – with low emissions and high recycled contents – was validated using the Life Cycle Assessment approach.

Andrea Martiradonna

Integrated and Collaborative Design

Dealing with an existing building necessitated meticulous coordination of the façade design with other disciplines, in particular with the structural engineer.

The new glazed facades were required to meet stringent energy performance standards to minimize reliance on the new MEP system, while simultaneously promoting daylighting and views. These objectives were successfully achieved through effective coordination with the MEP and sustainability engineers.

The desired aesthetics needed to align with the Client’s requirements of cost effectiveness, strict control over construction quality, and adherence to the timeline. Accordingly, the approach to the technical solutions for the facades aimed to mitigate any unforeseen design or site variations that could lead to cost revisions.

Quality Control was Paramount

Giuseppe Dibari, Managing Director at Deerns Italy, explains that the iconic architectural design meant incorporating oversize glass panes into an existing building without compromising on the performance standards expected for the façade. Says Dibari, “It was evident from the outset that fully customised façade systems were necessary, along with a thorough examination of each façade detail and its interface with the existing structures to ensure a seamless installation process. Furthermore, the desired optical quality of the bronze-anodized aluminium cladding on the opaque sections necessitated a continuous monitoring of component production.

“The complexity of the systems required a highly coordinated study of the proposed technical solutions and façade details, while adhering to the timeline for façade production and installation of these non-standard façade components.”

Deerns’ win at the Façade 2023 Design and Engineering Awards is a fitting testimony to its multi-disciplinary team’s expertise, innovative capabilities, and commitment to sector-leading excellence.

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Nicola Greco

Project Manager