SPG

Headquarter

Giovanni Vaccarini Architetti

2016
Steel Structures50 ton
Façades1800 s.qm.
S M L XL
Umberto Colicchio

Shape of the Light

The cinematographic journey, which introduces the new headquarters of the Société Privée de Gérance di Ginevra, designed by Giovanni Vaccarini, explores an architectural structure, whose shape leaves room for an evocative fluidity of its confines.
The protagonists of this short film created by The Piranesi Experience are the apparent movements, which are obtained by the interaction between a luminous vibration and a newly sophisticated system of a silk-screened glass facade: a solution which has allowed to improve the energy efficiency to the building as well as to lighten the volume, implying a strong aesthetic identity.
Through the movements of the movie camera, we perceive the building as an abstract and changeable object based on the point of view chosen for the photographing; its volume slowly softens until it is almost completely diminished of its own material density.
The images and sounds taken from the story written by Daniela DeFrancesco and directed by Claudio Esposito underline this slow process of evanescence.
During the night hours, the nebula effect is amplified thanks to the particular luminescence produced by the light fixtures mounted on the aluminium frames, which support the printed glass blades that comprise the facade.

With the aspiration for a dynamism and through experimental research of optical phenomena generated by light as it makes contact with surfaces, there is a strong recall to kinetic art and the first experiments of Kandinsky. With these, the mechanisms of vision are strongly related to movement and the temporal dimension.

Rossana Vinci, architect and journalist

Client:
SPG Société Privée de Gérance
Category:
Architecture

The Italian firm Giovanni Vaccarini Architetti has designed the new Headquarters of the Swiss Société Privée de Gérance (SPG), built on Route de Chêne, at the gates of the historical centre of Geneva. The work involved the reconversion and extension of the existing building, starting with the definition of a sophisticated architectural envelope which transformed the headquarters into a volume with vibratile materiality and seemingly elusive outlines: a device that promotes the energy efficiency of the building.


The envelope is comprised of a triple layer of glass (hot chamber) added to which is a fourth layer with a ventilated chamber containing the package of micro-perforated Venetian blinds to regulate the light. Brise-soleil screens made of screen-printed glass are anchored on the outside, giving the façade’s external surface a variable modular pattern in terms of both the panel dimensions and the design on their surface. The screen-printed graphic element on the screening panels helps to emphasize the reverberation effect produced, softening the perimeter surface of the building in a sort of evanescent and bright "nebula," as Giovanni Vaccarini defines it. At night the glass panels are lit by white LED lights that bring the architectural block to life and make it shimmer, in dialogue with the nighttime urban landscape in which it is set.


For this project, Stahlbau Pichler conceived a specific engineering system that would allow the "glass fins" that characterize the envelope of the building to be anchored individually. This system was fundamental to reduce all visual encumbrances to a minimum and hence allow the highest possible precision and integrity to the facade, as required by the architectural project. Static and aesthetic needs came together. It was also very important to reduce all weights to a minimum so as to manage the 100 tons of glass that have been added onto a pre-existing building that had its own structural constraints.