The Discrete Charm of Hidden Qualities
von Thomas Wagner | Mar 11, 2010

More and more, products and architectural systems are being designed to perform a function either completely undercover or as part of an integrated module that serves to expand the architect's freedom of design rather than restricting it. We are dealing with technical solutions that demonstrate optical modesty with respect to their impact on a room and in terms of the aesthetic or stylistic parameters within which they are produced. Discretion and aesthetic reduction are also key characteristics where the acoustics and the interior climate of a room are concerned.

Optimal acoustics facilitate listening and improve individual well-being. This is especially true for large spaces that accommodate a large number of people, such as day care centers, schools or gastronomical locations. In such environments, an echo in the room can have a particularly distracting and stressful effect. Businesses, hotels, museums, conference rooms and private living areas can also be affected by poor acoustics, which in principle are the result of a deficit in the acoustic atmosphere of a space. Under the name CapaCoustic, the company Caparol has developed a complete system with which the acoustic climate of sophisticated interiors can be sustainably improved without requiring significant changes to the basic structure of a room. The CapaCoustic system's most important attribute is that, once installed, its layered plaster baseboards are no longer recognizable as such. CapaCoustic Fine, for example, has an elegant and smooth surface that allows for particularly discrete implementation. The baseboards are classified as non-combustible building materials (Baustoffklasse A) and are therefore even suitable for use in environments with a higher fire risk.

The CLIMATE Panels produced by the company WEM Wandheizung can be employed no less discretely. The patented modular wall heating system, which consists of 25-millimeter thick clay panels that are reinforced with glass fiber fabric and into which heating pipes are integrated, provides for a comfortable and healthy living environment by way of heat radiation. It is installed in dry wall construction and can easily be mounted on walls as well as on pitched roofs or ceilings, again allowing the room to remain free of additional heating elements. WEM-CLIMATE Panels are complemented by WEM-CLIMATE Grids, which are fitted with fastening bars and can be plastered in masonry to suit individual needs and tastes.

The company Belu Tec takes a completely different, yet no less attractive approach to an integrated overall building appearance with its segmented folding doors and horizontal blinds that can be installed completely flush with adjacent surfaces. Garage doors up to eight meters wide can be fitted with wooden or other segments or perforated plates, for example, enabling them to not only be optimally integrated into the desired façade, but to practically blend in with it and create an optically uniform surface. Similar effects can be achieved with vertical folding blinds implemented as a counter enclosure in an interior space or as an entire façade that can be opened by way of horizontally folding segments, serving to fundamentally transform the overall impression of a building.

In the realm of doors, the company Portarredo presents a solution with its line L'Invisibile that, thanks to a new and sophisticated technology, completely eliminates the need for any kind of a frame and allows for a completely imperceptible transition from wall to door. The aluminum framework can be adapted to fit interior and exterior walls of various thicknesses. The system allows for push, pull or oscillating door openings and can be clad with just about any material or painted in the same color as the wall. In this way, doors completely disappear, giving a room a special touch.

Similarly, the Tectus brand by Simonswerk offers a fully concealed door hinge system that is exemplary both in terms of its high load-bearing capacity as well as in the simplicity of its installation, and which can be used for residential as well as functional property doors. And for those who love low-key luxury under the shower in the adjacent bathroom, the CeraLine drainage system by Dallmer provides a solidly designed shower channel drainage system that is installed flush with the floor and puts an end to the idea that a visible central drain is required even in a shower made of premium materials. CeraLine is available with coverings in different materials such as aluminum, glass or teak to match various surfaces.

WEM climate range, used at the renovation | photo © WEM Wandheizung GmbH
The garage doors made by Belu Tec can be installed completely flush with adjacent surfaces
The imperceptible transition from wall to door | photo © L'Invisibile by Portarredo
Fully concealed door hinge system TECTUS, made by Simonswerk | photo © Simonswerk
CeraLine drainage system, made by Dallmer | Foto © Dallmer
CerLine © Dallmer
In the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, CapaCoustic elements are intergrated seamlessly in the ceiling | photo © Haydar Koyupinar
CapaCoustic is developed for the requirements for very good sound insulation | photo © H. Koyupinar
The finished project | photo © WEM Wandheizung GmbH
Horizontal blinds made by Belu Tec. Used at Centre for Modern Medecine, Cologne | photo © Belu Tec
Invisible door with central mounted pivot | photo © L'Invisibile by Portarredo
Due to TECTUS doors can be installed flush with adjacent surfaces | photo © Simonswerk