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How a Tennis Superstar is Revolutionising A+D

Re-thinking materiality is central to innovation. How has Rafa Nadal redefined the limits of surfaces in contemporary design? You’ll be surprised.

While designers will often say, “you don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” it can often be useful to think about where and how else the proverbial wheel can be used. Pushing the boundaries of any discipline requires a willingness to think outside the box and apply knowledge in different ways. Here, the discipline of architecture is no different. How we understand the materials we use and how we apply them can drastically change the way we think about and create space – not to mention how we also might experience it. From using recycled plastic to reinforced concrete, to growing bricks out of fungi, innovations within architecture can often be found by reimagining uses for traditional materials.

Cosentino’s annual competition, the Cosentino Design Challenge, is centred around the reinterpretation of its products. While this year’s theme is ‘Cosentino and Travel’, prior themes such as ‘Cosentino and Sport’ have produced varied results including flexible seating and bicycle parking. However, Cosentino is not only supportive of finding new uses for their products on a conceptual basis – for decades they have been imagining and anticipating new design solutions using their product range.

The recent opening of the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar in Spain marks another way in which an accepted material of Cosentino’s has been reappropriated to an awe-inspiring degree of innovation. Of particular note is the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar’s extensive and innovative use of the ultra-compact surface Dekton – an innovative piece of surface technology for architectural projects, proving particularly popular in the kitchen and bathroom space. Much of the façade, floor tiling, stairs, baseboards and countertops make use of Dekton, which is renowned for its material properties. With a greater resistance to abrasion than granite, the highest scratch resistant surface on the market, a high resistance to fire and heat, and a high UV resistance, Dekton is an ideal product for both high traffic indoor and outdoor purposes – sounds perfect for a quick spot of tennis!

While Dekton is utilised across over 40,000 square metres of the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar its most innovative use may perhaps be reserved for the wet areas of the site. With both indoor and outdoor pools and a spa area, choice of materials is paramount for both safety and to ensure the longevity of the space by preventing any possible water damage. Dekton’s anti-slip grip technology and resistance to hydrolysis – typically useful for kitchen and bathroom scenarios – proved to be more than adequate, while the large sheet sizes offered allows for a reduction in the number of joints required between pieces, decreasing any chance of leakage.

Dekton’s use across such a wide variety of spaces, each with their own performance requirements, consolidates its status as a universal surfacing material. Cosentino may not be reinventing the wheel, but they’re certainly adding some nifty new features to pimp our ride!

Prodigious, right? Well, as the Official Partner for the 2017 INDE.Awards’ Prodigy, it’s yet another feat of Cosentino’s forward-thinking approach to renegotiating the parameters of what is possible across the full spectrum of our creative endeavour. Recognising an especial contribution in Asia Pacific’s A+D community for sparking trends rather than merely following them, your 2017 INDE Prodigy will encapsulate the innovation, bravery and spirit central to the progressive attitude held by our region’s emerging A+D professionals.

While entries for the 2017 Prodigy are currently sitting in the hands of our INDE jury, we are hearing early reports already that the calibre of submissions is something we have not seen the likes of before. Across the board, these entries celebrate that aforementioned progressive attitude toward imaginative architectural and design practice, redefine the ambit of design talent and expertise, and on all points cherish the need to embrace new technologies in the effort to achieve a more considerate, sustainable future.

Meet your 2017 INDE.Awards Prodigy Nominees:


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