Where cutting-edge design simply blends in22 November 2013
Functionality coupled with ideal design concepts is the raison d’être of the Fantoni Group, a leading Italian manufacturer of office furniture, surfacing solutions and sound deadening panels.
The Italian Fantoni Group (founded by Achille Fantoni in 1882) is a wellknown manufacturer of MDF and particleboard panels, as well as office furniture, partition and storage wall systems, melamine flooring and sound-deadening panels.
All phases of the production process are performed by the network of companies which make up the group: from the production of materials and semi-finished products to the design of innovative office furnishing systems, inspired by the most upto- date principles of well-being and design.
Made up of seven companies - Fantoni Spa, La Con Spa, Lesonit (Slovenia), Novolegno Spa, Patt Spa, Spik Iverica (Serbia) and Xilopack Srl - the Fantoni group produces its own resins, impregnates papers for facing its own panel products and, with its hydro-electric power and cogeneration plants, produces a large part of its own energy needs.
A turnover of €320m, an international market and more than 1,200 employees in the seven companies of the group are the result of more than 100 years' experience in wood processing.
Having received the 'Compasso d'Oro alla Carriera' award for Design Primario from Art Design International (ADI) in 1998, the Fantoni Group has become a reference point for ideas in its sector, due to the intense activity of its research centre: workshops, conferences and publications are examples of a commitment that it says makes it a "nerve centre" of experimentation and research.
June of this year saw the inauguration of the new Fantoni showroom at the very heart of Rome, in an historic palazzo in Piazza delle Belle Arti.
Fantoni has had a long standing presence in the Rome area thanks to a partnership with MCI Consulting, agent for the Fantoni Group, which has long been a point of reference for prestigious institutions, banks and prominent clients, for whom MCI is deemed to be an expert consultant.
The space in Piazza delle Belle Arti was magnificently designed by Marco Viola, who has worked with the Fantoni Group for many years. The office collections on display fit in seamlessly with the existing architecture, in an area that is perhaps the ultimate expression of the work space in design, blurring the division between showrooms and operative areas.
Fantoni creates all-round design solutions for work spaces, where the furniture is just one of the aspects taken into account, together with acoustic and climatic design.
In July 2012 Fantoni obtained the Italian Green Quality environmental certification mark for its Framework furniture collection and for its '4akustik' sound-deadening system. Framework fully complies with environmental performance characteristics required for the certification, as it is made of 100% recycled particleboard.
The collection is itself 98% recyclable. The technical solutions developed allow very simple disassembly of Framework for fast and efficient sorting of materials. The structural components are epoxy powder painted, a particularly 'green' technique that involves a single painting phase with no dispersal of solvents into the environment.
4akustik is an innovative sound-deadening system and conforms to the F4- star rating of the JIS standard, certified by the Japanese ministry and considered to be the most stringent in the world. It has ultralow formaldehyde content and is therefore suitable for use in public environments.
In January this year, the company's La- Con product achieved the Chain of Custody Certification in line with the national Forest Stewardship Council Standards for impregnated papers (melamine, urea and finish) and for laminates.
To put Fantoni fully in perspective we need to mention a few of the company's projects such as the Bohinj Park Hotel.
Breathtakingly nestled in a glacial valley on the edge of the Triglav National Park in Slovenia, this hotel boasts an unusual charm thanks to its location in an unspoilt natural environment close to the Julian Alps and near the stunning Lake Bohinj.
The first Slovenian 'Eco Resort' certified by the Green Globe International Sustainable Tourism Society, the hotel has had to comply with more that 250 environmental sustainability criteria to be worthy of meeting the standard required and it represents one of the most advanced hotels in central Europe in terms of energy efficiency.
Great attention has been devoted to comfort and convenience: from the lobby with fireplace to the bowling alley, cinema and meeting rooms. Quality acoustics play an important role.
The areas mainly affected are the lobby and restaurant, notorious for being areas where sound reverberation is paramount.
Here Topakustik plays its part, meeting the requirements of a high-tech product with high levels of sound absorption, with an attractive appearance which integrates with natural materials from wood to stone.
The meeting room also boasts high-quality acoustics thanks to modifications to the ceiling.
A more technical aspect of the work is evident in the cinema with its StillWall panelling, a sound-absorbing system with modular panels typically used in cases where it is not possible to carry out modifications at ceiling level.
And finally three restaurants, the Vis a Vis, the Grani di Pepe and the Baluardo della Cittadella, all of which have in common the application of 4akustik.
The Vis a Vis in Sestri Levante has paid great attention to environmental acoustics which gained this restaurant on the sea one of the first certificates for acoustic quality in Italy. 4akustik installed on the ceilings offers ideal acoustics and an exceptional visual impact.
In Flaibano, in the heart of the Friuli region of Italy, is the Grani di Pepe restaurant, a coveted stop for gourmets.
The setting is the result of the restoration of a house from the late 18th century. It skilfully combines the local country tradition with contemporary design furnishings in which 4akustik walls fit in perfectly.
In Modena, the local municipality has restored the Baluardo della Cittadella, an historical military building. The ground floor, which is for recreational purposes, features a system of suspended elements using 4akustik panels which cut down reverberation, while protecting the historical heritage of the arches and ceilings.
The first floor is devoted to a restaurant area, which has 4akustik panelling to walls consisting of sound-absorbing slates.