BOLON INTERVIEW - Kalfopoulos Architects

The Circle Convention Center is the new center for business and lifestyle in Zurich’s air traffic hub. The Japanese architect Riken Yamamoto has created a usable area of 200,000 m2 on approx. 30,000 m2 floor space, which combines a wide variety of industries in individual spatial modules. The Circle Convention Center is LEED Platinum® certified and currently one of the most important construction projects in Switzerland.

It houses one of the largest convention centers in Switzerland and Kalfopoulos Architects were responsible for the interior design. 2,800 square meters offer state-of-the-art event space, suitable for congresses, meetings or events of any kind with up to 1,500 guests. Bolon was chosen for the congress hall as well as the meeting rooms and was installed on almost 1900 m². We asked Kalfopoulos Architects about the project, the choice of flooring and its requirements:

The impressive architecture of the convention hall is very dominant. Tell us a bit about how you started the concept for its interior design.

- Indeed, the whole architecture of the building is very expressive, and we were very excited to design the interior. We had to take several premises into account and developed different concepts. We looked closely at each room and then decided whether to highlight or contrast the existing architectural elements. In the congress hall, for example, we wanted to emphasize the architecture, while at the same time not wanting the floor to be too dominant.

What were the most important aspects for the choice of materials and colours?

- The main requirement of the project was sustainability. So, for the flooring we started by selecting natural materials like wood, stone or ceramic tiles. Further demands such as acoustics or ease of installation could not be met with these materials, so we had to consider other options. Although textile or vinyl flooring are made of mineral substances, they satisfy with other qualities in the direction of sustainability. Bolon convinced us right from the start. All their collections contain recycled material, are durable and the fact that they are only cleaned with water has gone one step further in terms of sustainability. Within the large range of colours and structures, we found the perfect combination to meet our needs and the decision was made quickly.

Regarding flooring, what are the challenges for a space like this? Can you explain the process behind choosing Bolon Now Acoustic Tiles?

- We are dealing here with very large, heavily frequented areas and the flooring is subject to extreme stress. This means that it must be particularly dirt and abrasion resistant, easy to clean and at the same time easy to replace. It should also insulate the acoustics in the room. In the design committee, we jointly chose the Bolon Now collection because it could serve all of these points. The choice of the format as 50 x 50 tiles resulted from the easy interchangeability.

For the convention hall and meeting rooms you went for the same flooring collection but different options in installation. The convention hall is covered with tiles in the same direction. The meeting rooms have a check pattern instead. Can you explain your decision?

- The interior of the congress hall with its unique architecture and glass roof plays a dominant role. That's why we decided for a rather quiet, reserved flooring. Bolon Now was the perfect match to this space. It appears as an evenly coloured surface, but gives it something full of energy thanks to its metallic sheen.

For the meeting rooms, we wanted more dominance in the flooring. We chose Bolon Now again, but with a different optic in the installation. The 50 x 50 tiles were assembled in a special way to create an expanded check pattern. We find this solution gives the space a strong expression.

Something that unites Kalfopoulos Architects, Riken Yamamoto and Bolon is the importance of sustainability. The Circle Convention Center is certified with the highest rate of green building certification Programme, the LEED Platinum®. Its valuation is based on different topics, amongst these energy + global environmental impacts, material cycles + resource conservation or indoor air quality. How did this influence your work?

- We have been active in the high-end sector for many years. Therefore, we are familiar with working with natural & mineral materials. To meet the requirements of the LEED program, we went deeply in search of sustainable materials and companies. In that process we also visited Bolon Headquarters with its production and recycling plant to get an idea of their work. In such a sustainable project it is important to combine the right materials, products and companies. Our visit in Sweden was a very nice experience and an approval to our made decisions.

Read more about our certifications here!


Photos: The Circle Convention Center / Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport

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