By Manu Sharma
A building façade is more than just a cladding which enhances the exterior of the building. There is a lot of technology that goes behind designing and executing a façade, which can even contribute in making the structure of the building strong, besides being sustainable and creative.
Dr Prashanth Reddy, Managing Director, Fundermax India, a 130-year-old Austrian company dealing in architectural products for interiors and exterior applications, talks about this and much more in an exclusive interview with Manu Sharma of Silicon Village.
Here are the excerpts:
Manu Sharma : Fundermax has been in the business of facades for several decades. When did the company start incorporating technology in facades?
Dr Prashanth Reddy: Since the beginning, Fundermax has always emphasized on usage of technology in its façade systems. The signature rear ventilated façade system offered by Fundermax maintains a gap between the building envelope and cladding, and between cladding elements, thus ensuring sufficient flow of air behind the cladding. This enables the building in sustaining a comfortable temperature, thereby reducing power consumption and improving the thermal comfort of the occupants. It incorporates technologies like rear ventilation systems and stress-free sub-construction systems to achieve best performance of façade.
MS: What is the unique technology used by Fundermax as compared to your competitors?
PR: We design futuristic and environment friendly façade systems. The concept of rear ventilated façade system (rain screen façade system) can help in making the building more sustainable by providing heat resistance, sound insulation and extreme weather resistance. Tropical climate can sometimes be uncomfortable and therefore it is important to use the right façade system for optimizing temperature levels inside a building. The objective of a such a façade system is sustainability.
We also offer passive architectural elements such as louvers which can be optimally used to mitigate glare and heat. To ensure durability – the entire design of the exterior façade could be enhanced based on digitally researched environmental factors of wind and heat much before devising an installation system. All such factors tremendously help in giving character to buildings.
MS: Being a BE in mechanical engineering, what made you get into this venture?
PR : Fundermax products and systems work on the principles of sustainability, innovation and creativity which is my core as well. And, being a BE Mechanical, it helped to bring the technical excellence in solution selling.
MS: How many projects have been completed so far by Fundermax? Can you give details about some inspirational tech facades that you have done?
PR: Fundermax India has completed more than 15000 projects. All the exterior façade work done by Fundermax is based on the rear-ventilated principle.
MS: How do high- tech facades combine efficiency and creativity?
PR: In addition to safety, architects chiefly value the creativity and design possibilities provided by the use of rear-ventilated facades. The design can be individually harmonized with the characteristics of the building. Material combinations of various other cladding materials can also be easily integrated with Fundermax Rear Ventilated Façade systems. Other technological advantages of rear-ventilated façade systems include the structural division of insulation and weather protection materials. These systems are thus less susceptible to damage when compared to other façade systems. Furthermore, fire, noise and lightning protection requirements can be implemented easily. Such creative execution makes the façade an efficient one.
MS: Can you explain how façade technology is driven by solar control?
PR: Sun shading systems can be designed after doing the sun path analysis. These systems could be static or dynamic. Dynamic louvers will change the position automatically with the change in position of sun to provide visual and thermal comfort to the occupants.
MS: Any major changes or innovations that you're planning in future?
PR: The drive is to help architects build sustainable buildings and participate in green building constructions. Max Exterior panels are made up of 65% natural material and façade can be designed on the principles of rear-ventilated façade. We are looking forward to delivering more projects in green building segment.
MS: Please tell us about expansion plans of Fundermax in India.
PR: We are market leaders in exterior segment and we are going to expand in interior segment by end of year 2021. Some of the products we are going to introduce are:
* Max Interior panels, which are suitable for durable partition system for restrooms, cubicles & internal wall claddings.
* MFC (Melamine-faced chipboards) & MDF for interior furniture and kitchens.
* Max Resistance2, which is a niche offering that is specifically used for laboratory tabletops.