LASA marble enhances the white concrete façade at the new PROGRESS GROUP headquarters

A new standard for excellence in concrete production is defined by the PROGRESS GROUP's new headquarters in the Bressanone (Brixen) industrial estate. Lasa Marmo supplied 303 tonnes of LASA marble sand and gravel as aggregate for the prefabricated white concrete elements used for the entire external façade of the main building. Cover panels, furniture and door claddings from the Lasa Marmo product line LASA !ndividual® were also manufactured and supplied for the self-service restaurant furniture and fully colour-coordinated with the façade.

There is no doubt that the PROGRESS GROUP, as a global pioneer in automated production in the precast concrete industry, not only wanted to create a showcase project of superlatives for its customers, but also to realise optimal as well as functional working conditions for its 150 employees. The fact that the 29.99-metre-high eight-storey building can be seen and experienced as a functional company headquarters and as a gigantic exhibition piece without one aspect getting in the way of the other can be seen as a credit to the architectural planning. Thus, the young architect and designer Manuel Gschnell from Merano (Meran), sees Progress' new production and office building as the result of the joy of experimentation and the pursuit of perfection in concrete prefabrication. "Our goal was to use a local, high-quality material that has the ability to reflect the surrounding environment. Hence, only the LASA marble came into question for us. The resulting off-cut material as an aggregate for the concrete, combined with the high-gloss polish of the surface, creates a high-quality, elegant product that met our expectations."

The shape of the building and the layout of the interior spaces have been derived from previous studies on quality of work, lighting, and the flow of movement between staff, meeting and connecting areas. The main office façade follows these internal movement patterns and is defined by a regular sequence of windows and concrete panels that frame the dark windows like a white grid. The precast concrete elements were refined in a special way. The white concrete was given aggregates of LASA marble (sand 0-4 mm and gravel 8-16 mm) and then polished. The mirror-smooth concrete elements frame the floor-to-ceiling windows in a regular arrangement, creating a grid that draws the eye and then directs it further - to the mirrored surroundings.

In addition to the particularly bright colouring of the white concrete, it is also evident that the essential properties of the LASA marble are taken over by the concrete. The prefabricated parts cast in white concrete are extraordinarily hard, and the special sparkle of the LASA marble is transmitted through the marble gravel and marble sand.

On the 3rd floor, an in-house restaurant offers office workers, fitters, software developers and workers from all departments and all companies in the group a central meeting place with healthy and regional cuisine. Not only does the increased presence of wood (oak) and plants exude cosiness here, the company restaurant was also deliberately colour-coordinated with the exterior façade in white concrete. For this purpose, Lasa Marmo marble from the LASA !ndividual® product line was used to create cover panels and furniture cladding in 2 cm thickness as well as door cladding in 8 mm thickness for the furniture sets in the self-service and food serving areas. The surfaces of the panels and claddings were sanded and impregnated for this purpose.

The special construction of the PROGRESS GROUP is a perfect example of how versatile precast concrete elements can be used. "Progress has always stood for efficient, high-quality precast concrete elements. With the Lasa Marmo aggregate, we are taking a further step in the direction of high-quality architectural concrete and demonstrating that concrete does not always have to be just grey. We therefore see great potential in such aggregates and are pleased to now have a great business card for this at our own company headquarters with the LASA marble, one of the highest-quality natural stones in South Tyrol", says Piero Bernabé, CEO of PROGRESS AG. Just as impressively, the showpiece building makes thoughts about the incompatibility of the two materials natural stone and concrete, also known as artificial stone, evaporate. The combination of concrete and LASA marble as an aggregate also gives rise to a completely new, high-quality and noble building material in the prefabricated components sector.

Project information

Bressanone/Brixen, Italy, 2021

Product: façade cladding: white concrete with marble sand and marble gravel
cover panels and furniture paneling in 2 cm

Volume: ca. 159 tons of marble sand (0/4 mm)
ca. 144 tons of gravel (8/16 mm)

Surface: honed

Architect: Manuel Gschnell / Studio Dear Meran

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