Background stories

Below you will find background stories, in-depth articles and a behind the scenes look into the creation of Zospeum, as well as the latest news regarding its development.

Dutch Design Week 2016

Dutch Design Week 2016

Zospeum showcased its first large-scale façade during this year’s 15th anniversary iteration of Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. The design and trade show, which took place between October 21st and 30th, is the largest of its kind in Northern Europe, hosting over 295,000 attendees across nine days in over 100 locations.

Having recently assembled our production machine, we’ve been in the process of rendering larger panels in order to create our first facades. A full size Zospeum frontage has allowed us to show how versatile the construct is and how different light conditions interact with the material.

“…Upon its 15th anniversary, DDW is a 9-day celebration with 275,000 visitors with as honoured guests 2500 national and international thinkers and doers…”

For this year’s iteration of Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, we displayed three Zospeum sandwich-panels, acting as the temporary façade for a one-storey high construct. Measuring up at 3600mm 1200mm x 320mm, the structure provided a Rc current value of 5,5m2K/W.

The overall response from those at Dutch Design Week was one of positive surprise and inerest. On display day and night, attendees were able to interact with and see Zospeum’s adaptable translucent properties. The Zospeum display was also visited by Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, along with Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien who were all gave praise and shared their enthusiastic about the project and its potential usage.

Zospeum by night – Photo by Britt Roelse
VIP Workshop 25-10 ┬® Jeroen van der Wielen_49A7564_HR_small_uitgesneden_1

Production Machine

Production Machine

After assembling our production machine, it is finally up and running and has already been manufacturing panels this week. These are exciting times, as soon we will be begin manufacturing larger panels, which will be the first steps in making the first large-scale, Zospeum façade.

Once we’ve achieved this, we’ll be able start analysing this unique material and we will be able to decide how to direct this product further, for example in terms of fibre density and diameter variation

Making of the Video

To show how the product reacts to varying natural light conditions, we decided to make a supporting, promotional video. In order to achieve this, we brought in the creative agency, Studio AIRPORT. The resultant film, shot in just one day, used strong artificial lighting and experimented with people moving behind the blocks, to highlight the contrasting levels of translucent light.


Proof of Principle

In anticipation of the large-scale manufacture for our translucent concrete, we decided to share our insights as to how we came to this point in our developmental cycle.

The images you see (above / below) are the full-scale prototypes that were used during the durability testing and the subsequent promotional video (of which further details can be found below.) Measuring in at 600 x 600 x 320mm, these images should give you an idea as to the size and composition of the finished product, that when pieced together, become part of much larger, translucent façade.

Together, with the help and expertise of Dutch construction agency Hurks, the insulation compound and optical fibres were initially placed into a mould, with the concrete poured in after and then polished to give a shiny, marble-like aesthetic.


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