Subway Tiles á la Dali

Subway Tiles á la Dali

A few years ago, we featured the Mahler4 Office Tower, known as “The Rock” in Zuidas, Netherlands. Zuidas is mixed-use high-rise urban development south of Amsterdam, designed by nine international architects.   The Rock was the work of Erick van Egeraat, one of the nine.

(The Rock gets its name from a stone-like mass that comprises the upper third of the structure, sitting atop a massive glass façade that looks like ice cliffs. The irony of “The Rock” is that natural stone was deemed too heavy to use, and the upper third of the facade is lightweight composite cladding that impersonates stone.)

The interior of The Rock also contains a significant bit of composite architecture. The auditorium is “trimmed” with tall, flowing, glossy white surfaces. They are separated into sections by visually-prominent joints, giving the effect of enormous subway tiles that somehow flowed and bent, subway tiles as painted by Salvador Dali. These are, in fact, large composite panels.

The panels were made by Poly Products, BV (who also made the exterior cladding for The Rock) using a fire-resistant resin formula they call Masterworks. It is, they say, a “water-based plastic made from mineral fillers and acrylate polymers.” Masterworks complies with SBI class B S1 D0, a European fire standard that measures a broad range of fire-related hazards (heat released, flame spread, fire growth rate, smoke development, and dripping/dropping while burning). Poly Products describes the material as offering “the formability of polyester and the fire behavior of plasterboard.”

There are 129 panels in all, each unique. They were made on CNC-milled foam  molds. (If you’ve ever wondered how fiberglass hand layup is done for large piece like this, there’s an excellent video of it on Poly Products’ web page for this project.)

The project was completed in 2008.

Images via Poly Products BV