Architonic recently visited the Swissbau 2010 expo in Basel, whose focus this year was on sustainability. From the mass of exhbitors, we've selected our favourites for you, scrutinising their innovative, technological and architectural qualities. What follows is a presentation of the latest products for both exterior and interior use.

New technologies for exterior use

Gasser Fassadentechnik exhibited at Swissbau with one of the most convincing stands in terms of build: blue glazed, deeply concave, tesellated elements in the shape of a honeycomb provided a fasincating surface play. The manufacturer of this facade system, called TERRART®, is nbk. Thanks to the system's flexible substructure – TERRART® Flex – and its arbitrary forms and grid sizes, the possibilities for facade design are opened up, with only a few constraints still remaining.

tesellated elements‚Terracotta’ by nbk / Gasser Fassadentechnik AG

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

tesellated elements‚Terracotta’ by nbk / Gasser Fassadentechnik AG

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Ernst Schweizer combined a wood and metal sliding door with photovoltaic elements – a clever move, because the latter provide shade and at the same time are charged up through the sunlight that they catch. The energy convertor is concealed in the track the sliding panel sits in.

Image of exhibition sample by Schweitzer: wood and metal sliding door with photovoltaic elements

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

Image of exhibition sample by Schweitzer: wood and metal sliding door with photovoltaic elements

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‚TECU® Bond’ – the name is almost self-explanatory. As one of the best-known manufacturers of copper facades, kme has added copper-sandwich panels its product range, taking a cue from market leader ALUCOBOND®. 0.5mm-thick copper sheets are glued together under high pressure using an internal laver of polyethylene-based plastic – an extremely strong material bonding.

The result is a material for facades that can be handled and fixed easily. The copper sheets come with a protective film in place, which guards effectively against contamination of the material during the build. Post-installation, the film can be removed easily. In contrast to the copper sheeting, which has a bumpy look to it, TECU® Bond is completely smooth and torsion-resistant. Moreover, it offers expansive facade coverage.

‚TECU® Bond’ by kme, image: kme

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

‚TECU® Bond’ by kme, image: kme

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The specialist glass manufacturer Schott exhibited MIRONA™, a glass which brings together two seemingly contradictory characters, for it is at once a mirror and a transparent pane of glass, depending on what is behind it. In front of a dark area it acts as a mirror. If its lit from behind, it changes from mirror to see-through glass. This is possible through a double-sided coating, a so-called optical interence layer. MIRONA™ is suitable for both interior and exterior use, is highly weatherproof and can be cleaned easily.

‚MIRONA™’ by Schott; image: Schott

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

‚MIRONA™’ by Schott; image: Schott

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Reliefs take command

DuPont also managed to lend a well-known product a new dimension. Their '3D Collection' is a range of serially produced relief panels, which are designed to be used in interiors as wall coverings.

Corian '3D' Gauss, image: Du Pont

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

Corian '3D' Gauss, image: Du Pont

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The new technology used here also allows a large number of reliefs and patterns to be made in Corian® in a short space of time. The material itself was originally used primarily for kitchen worktops. It offers a high level of resistance to chemicals and dirt. Corian® can be handled smoothly.

Corian, sample exhibited at swissbau 2010, image: architonic

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

Corian, sample exhibited at swissbau 2010, image: architonic

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Corian '3D' Collection Phyllotaxis, image: Du Pont

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

Corian '3D' Collection Phyllotaxis, image: Du Pont

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Jago offers relief panels made out of MDF for use in interior construction, for example for wall cladding and for furniture. The sheets are available in different veneers and can be worked with using tradtional carpentry tools.

Jago relief panel Ocean, image: Jago

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

Jago relief panel Ocean, image: Jago

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Jago relief panel 'Hohle', image: Jago

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

Jago relief panel 'Hohle', image: Jago

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'Joe’, the new collection of tiles from Tagina, also plays with three-dimensional reliefs. The tiles are either concave or convex, which produces an exciting surface play when they are used together. Like traditional Majolica tiles they are fired twice. Several layers of glaze produce a particular luminosity and a shimmering depth. This lends the collection – in addition to the refined structure of its surface –the appearance of great worth.

'Joe' tiles by Tagina, image: Tagina

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

'Joe' tiles by Tagina, image: Tagina

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'Joe' is available in different shapes: square tiles for directionless mosaics and right-angled tiles, grooved lengthways, for areas of large application.

Tagina Joe, different tile-sizes, image: tagina

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

Tagina Joe, different tile-sizes, image: tagina

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Admonter, the parquet-flooring manufacturer, is part of a 1,000-year-old tradition that goes back to Admont Abbey, which is also owner of the company, founded in 1972. Admonter parquet and natural-wood floorings are not only ecological and sustainable, but also embody a wide collection, from antique look to modern design editions. The latter is an annual, limited range of products, and features for 2010 the product lines INTENSIVE and PURE.

left: INTENSIVE oak planed black; right: INTENSIVE larch OLD hardened petrol

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

left: INTENSIVE oak planed black; right: INTENSIVE larch OLD hardened petrol

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INTENSIVE's larch parquet achieves a hardened, planed or wavy look by means of a special surface treatment and a coordinated colouring. Only oak parquet with no knots in it is used for the PURE product line; the hues are kept to white/grey, underscoring the natural character of the oak. The result is an almost graphic type of parquet, full of contrast.

left: INTENSIVE dark oak planed white; right: INTENSIVE medium oak planed white

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

left: INTENSIVE dark oak planed white; right: INTENSIVE medium oak planed white

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BOLON specialises in woven-vinyl flooring. Vinyl flooring offers a textile-like feeling, with the advantage that it can be wet-cleaned and is very hard-wearing. BOLON flooring is, as a result, certified for use in public spaces and is available both on the roll and in tiles. The 'Spektra' collection focuses on luminous accents. Wide strips offer the possibility to play with perspectives. The 'Twilight' collection features two-colour, shimmering metallic woven vinyl in interesting contrasts, giving the floor an exclusive look.

Bolon vinyl flooring Spektra, image: Bolon

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

Bolon vinyl flooring Spektra, image: Bolon

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The 'Twilight' collection features two-colour, shimmering metallic woven vinyl in interesting contrasts, giving the floor an exclusive look.

Bolon vinyl flooring Twilight, image: Bolon

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

Bolon vinyl flooring Twilight, image: Bolon

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TiscaTiara, who specialise in the production of textile flooring, ventures into the Astroturf market with 'Sportisca'. 'GIARDINO Color' is a polychromatic variation of this playing surface, which can be used for design purposes. Two differnently coloured piles, each with a different height, are woven together. 'GIARDINO Color' is still in production, but will be available in early 2010.
'Taurus' is a extremely hard-wearing flooring suitable for contract and public spaces and can even be laid outdoors. Hard and smooth twine, made of differently coloured polymides, is twisted together before weaving, which produces a materially hard, but visually textile-like surface.

What will probably be of particular interest to architects is that 'Taurus' can be customised, and in terms of its colour range (140 colours available), as well as its design, it can be tailored to the overall concept. That said, the standard 'Taurus' design is very appealling.

Mira-x by TiscaTiara presented 'Bianca', a tapestry, which is available in black and white. Where colour is applied to the fabric, it shrinks, creating a wrinkled texture. Unprinted areas remaining transparent. The result is a 3-D effect.

mira-x by TiscaTiara,tapestry Bianca, image: mira-x

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

mira-x by TiscaTiara,tapestry Bianca, image: mira-x

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'WEB', the new collection from Objectcarpet, is similarly intended for contract spaces. Here, the idea of using relief on the floor can be seen again. Proud and recessed structures are woven into the carpet.

object carpet, contract flooring 'Pebble Beach', image object carpet

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

object carpet, contract flooring 'Pebble Beach', image object carpet

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'Black Art', as the name suggests, features monochrome black treatment, but through the three-dimension texture of the flooring a subtle pattern emerges.

object carpet, Vulcano, 'Black Art' Collection, image: object carpet

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

object carpet, Vulcano, 'Black Art' Collection, image: object carpet

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Running alongside swissbau, the Tapetenforum presented the 2010 Wallpaper Prize, the culmination of the competition they run, which is growing in profile. We found Raúl Gómez Hernández's entry, 'Alphabetical Challenge', more interesting than the actual winner; it was conceived in collobration with Marburg Wallcoverings as part of a new corporate identity for the Migros Club School.

‚Alphabetical Challenge’ by Raúl Gómez Hernández, image: Tapetenforum

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

‚Alphabetical Challenge’ by Raúl Gómez Hernández, image: Tapetenforum

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To generate more publicity for the unfortnately badly presented event, the new wallpaper collection by Zaha Hadid for Marburg was exhibited alongside the prize winners. The wallpaper designs are unmistakably hers and fit perfectly with her furniture. What's new is the pyschedelic touch: Electric Ladyland, Basel, Schweiz. The promotional strategy is paying off: thanks to Zaha, the Tapetenforum was just a little bit sexy.

Zaha Hadid by Marburg, image: Tapetenforum

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

Zaha Hadid by Marburg, image: Tapetenforum

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Zaha Hadid by Marburg, image: Tapetenforum

Swissbau 2010, Basel: Architonic selects the best materials on show | Novità

Zaha Hadid by Marburg, image: Tapetenforum

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