Mirage Project Point Dubai
Mirage Project Point Dubai

Ventilated Façades in the Middle East

Defining a ventilated façade

Since 1985, Mirage’s engineering department has realized many turnkey projects, and was the first ceramics company to employ a dedicated engineering team, to focus on innovative, sustainable and economic means of fixing floor and wall coverings with porcelain stoneware solutions. One such technical application is the ventilated façade, where porcelain slabs are anchored to the exterior wall of a building using an aluminum structure and mechanical anchorage devices. The two surfaces create a ventilated gap, allowing air to flow freely so the building can “breathe”, to keep cooler in hot weather and vice versa.

 

Regional projects

Notable projects in the Middle East that feature the ventilated façade system include the new St Regis Dubai and The Westin Dubai, within the Al Habtoor City development, using Mirage’s Stones 2.0 series on the façades. Another example is the recently completed “Butterfly Building” in Dubai Media City, where Samsung’s headquarters are stationed, the NMC Hospital in Abu Dhabi and Hilton Riyadh hotel and apartments in Saudi Arabia.

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Al Mamoura Building, Abu Dhabi, designed with Mirage EP 04 porcelain stoneware

 

Architectural talk

This week, Mirage and Lever Building Materials, its exclusive UAE distribution partner, hosted a design talk on Tuesday 13 December, at the new Mirage Project Point Dubai in d3, showcasing these projects and detailing the technical mechanical fixings of ventilated façades. Davide Corsini, an engineer from Mirage’s engineering department in Italy, and Ammar Saad, technical director of Lever Building Materials, gave an insightful talk highlighting the benefits of ventilated façades, the different anchorage systems available to architects, such as visible and invisible fixings, designing with opened and closed joints, fitting the slabs to a grid, and the installation processes involved.

Walltech B, ventilated facade, mechanical fixing, facade design, Mirage engineering, Mirage tiles, Mirage porcelain
The Walltech B mechanical anchorage system with open joints

 

“The ventilated façade system is an exemplary cladding solution, and during the design talk we were able to highlight the mechanical fixing systems that have become quite widely used by architects in the region,” comments Ammar, whose company specializes in the fixing of ceramic and porcelain tiles, external cladding, mosaics and water jet cutting, with workshop facilities in Umm Al Quwain and offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. “The invisible fixing system for ventilated façades is a popular application because the special fixing element on the back of each tile makes it very easy to attach to the building’s wall structure, and provides a seamless design. Additionally, the “Walltech B” system, which anchors each slab via a coupling on each side of the tile, is suitable for the mechanical fixing of 20mm porcelain slabs, and 90% of our installations feature this.”

 

The benefits of porcelain

“There are huge advantages to applying a ventilated façade with porcelain stoneware,” continues Ammar. “There are many different forces to be considered when fixing a façade, such as weight, wind, and movement of the material and building, as well as aesthetic factors such as colour and style. There are also variations in fixing the system if you use porcelain stoneware instead of natural materials like limestone. Mirage’s fully vitrified stoneware is a perfectly natural recreation of stone obtained without the use of any resins or adhesives. This gives it greater credentials than its natural counterparts, namely extremely low porosity, effortless maintenance, virtually unlimited resistance to abrasion, guaranteed resistance to chemical and atmospheric attack, huge flexion, shock and compression resistance, and excellent colour preservation, year after year.”

 

The Project Point platform

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Ammar and Davide explain open joints within a ventilated façade system

The talk was presented at Mirage’s new design hub, Mirage Project Point Dubai, a creative concept providing architects and designers with an open meeting, consultancy and presentation area. Githa Vijo, senior architect at FAAC in Dubai Media City, complimented the unique platform, saying it was the first first time she had an experienced a presentation in such a space. Guests included architects, engineers, contractors and designers from companies across the UAE, including Tecom Investments, Thomas Bell-Wright, Zen Studio, Loci, Norr Group Consultants International Limited, Blue Camel, plus design students from Manipal University and regional media.

architecture talk, Dubai architects, ventilated facade, engineering, Mirage, Mirage tiles, design talk, Mirage Project Point, mirage porcelain
A select crowd of architects, engineers and contractors attended

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