We believe “influences on design in this undefined era exist from fields beyond the profession – be it construction industry, media, science or any other.”
NATCO Head Office reflects the trade of the company onto its interior detail, building skin and the immediate context. The clients are one of the largest exporters of varied stone types in India. In 2002, when the building was going under construction a major material of export, for them, was slate. The building itself educates the owner’s potential clients of the variations possible with the material suggested.
Design Plus decided to break the façade of a rigid plan to create varying volumes for the exterior and resulting internal spaces. These volumes were treated with slate cut in as many sizes as possible for external cladding and varying polishes. Areas of the fascia that would permit scaling of slate were identified. These would add a sense of dynamism to the façade that would change over time.
The biggest constraint on offer was the size of the stone available for cladding and thickness. The stone by nature is brittle and stable only in small modules. Owing to these properties of small size and thin material, dry cladding was avoided. Although it was also discussed the possibility of using polymerized lining to make dry cladding possible, but that would have escalated cost in multi-folds. Secondly, slate has a property of scaling over time. As mentioned, areas were definitely marked for polished (non-scaling) surfaces and rough (scaling surfaces).
Also, the varying sizes of cladding permitted us to avoid any wastage, since all oddly broken material was accommodated in the cladding system.
Each stone type was clearly defined in terms of dimension and polish. Types varied from 300mm x 300mm mirror polished stone to 75mm x 300 mm wide rough slate. Each size and polished was examined thoroughly. Mirror polishes were executed with polymer compounds to fill naturally occurring interstices on the slate surface.