The windows have evolved for centuries, the company PanoramAH! teaches us its philosophy and its highest-end products.
Who invented the window? Although it seems incredible, we have no idea … Can you imagine inventing such a constructive element and not making sure that you transcend your last name as creator? So they were in ancient times … although it is also possible that it was a collective invention and therefore difficult to define. The important thing, in any case, is that this element has been, is and will be vital in architecture and therefore, in the future of humanity.
The evolution of the window has been linked to the needs of light, ventilation and comfort of homes (castles, churches and other uses, too). Thus, from the first ones made with wooden or ceramic frames and interior of bones, translucent stones or paper, has been used the use of glass in its different formats with aluminum, wood or PVC frames (the wood is always there).
The company PanoramAH!, of Swiss origin, specializes in minimalist windows and high-end glass walls, which guarantee more sustainable buildings in which light plays a fundamental role or where exterior and interior spaces can be integrated more easily. Committed to extreme quality and excellence, their products have been used by renowned architects such as Norman Foster, Jean Nouvel, Lacaton Vassal, John Pawson, Marcio Kogan, Souto de Moura or Campo Baeza.
Eurico Almeida, International Director of Expansion of the company, has been pleased to answer a few questions. With this, we can glimpse the elements that define the new architecture, which contribute to the creation of more sustainable buildings, more integrated with the surrounding environment and more adaptable to the changing functionality of our homes.
The Luxonomist: Who is Eurico Almeida?
Eurico Almeida. I am a happy man, father of two children, determined and persevering. I am an architect by profession and currently I perform the functions of Administrator and General Director for the Iberian Market within the company Jofebar S.A., which owns the Swiss brand of minimalist windows PanoramAH!
TL: What is a window?
EA: At present it is practically impossible to talk about architecture or about any building, house, construction without necessarily mentioning the windows. The window is a particular element that is synonymous with light, air, a horizon under new perspectives. We can even talk about identity and uniqueness, which often classifies the place or highlights the story in terms of meaning, which as a particular element and participatory links it directly and closely as an integral part of the constructive or architectural process in question.
TL: And a PanoramAH window !?
EA: The PanoramAH! is, in essence, the conjugation of a series of raw materials and manufacturing processes that minimize aluminum profiles and in turn maximize the use and performance of glass. This results in the PanoramAH! minimalist window, which responds to the most rigorous technical requirements. All within the principles and trends that emerged in the 20s with Le Corbusier, where the design was directed towards the maximum use of the interior spaces of the buildings, towards the light and the exterior landscape, thus converting the window into A large giant screen with a high level of technical performance.
TL: How does the exterior carpentry protect us by giving us maximum light?
EA: Currently, with the industrial development of media and technology, with the exchange product of know-how and research carried out over these years, in the conception and materialization of our systems, the great innovation lies in the fact that the Glass becomes a vital device that allows us to regulate both thermal and luminosity levels, depending on the external environment and the needs of the interior space.
TL: Is light so important?
EA: Light is a fundamental element in human life and at the same time because of the activities that come from it. It emerges as the element from which the relationship between the work and the external environment is established, thus acquiring an important role in the conceptual development of the different works and projects, since the window is an essential element within all this context. Depending on each country, the same light or the same windows are treated differently given the local characteristics of the environment, either by excess or defect, and according to the need to reduce or increase energy levels, due to the absence of lighting natural or by excess of solar radiation.
TL: In what areas are your products most demanded?
EA: For the above reasons, the applicability of PanoramAH windows! is recognized worldwide among other things for the high level of benefits it offers. This allows it to adapt to any environment regardless of where it is from the geography of Australia to Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden or the United Kingdom, among others.
TL: Your products are sustainable … do they contribute to zero energy consumption? How?
EA: People’s comfort habits are increasingly demanding and those specific ones related to the issues of sustainability and energy efficiency deserve more attention from each and every one of us. The PanoramAH windows! assume a preponderant role in this matter, actively contributing to the reduction of energy consumption given the high performance that their system can achieve. The reduced presence of aluminum is in contrast to the high and substantially greater area of the glass, which in turn provides a thermal performance and consequent energy efficiency that responds to the most varied requirements of each country.
TL: From 6 to 20 millimeters it seems very little to avoid the thermal bridge … Tell us the secret?
EA: The real innovation is that glass goes from being a mere filler to fulfilling a structural function as a door or window. It rests on a small aluminum profile that restricts its function as a sliding guide on bearings that guarantee the tightness of the window itself. This form of conception and construction of windows allows peripheral elements to be incorporated both to the floor and to the ceiling or walls with a reduction in the central layers of up to 20 mm, which takes to the extreme the concept of transparency and immateriality and offers us the maximum area of light simultaneously performing the necessary and adequate thermal break.
TL: What do you understand by a luxury home?
EA: In my opinion, the house of excellence or luxury must positively unify both the conceptual and the material part where the light assumes a preponderant role in a clear fusion between the interior and the exterior.
TL: Do you think that luxury or excellence can be achieved without maximizing the fusion between inside and outside?
EA: On the one hand, the adequate orientation of the spaces, windows and blind elements is necessary within a perspective of control of the luminosity that is obtained from the outside with the thermal needs of the interior. And on the other hand, the use of good construction practices and quality materials ensuring in this way what I consider the concept of excellence.
TL: Can you adapt your products to all types of customers and their needs?
EA: We do not carry out our products in a traditional way but in correspondence with the specificities of each project and client. It is like making a tailor-made suit, which allows us to gain access to renowned architects and worldwide recognition and also to its demanding client portfolio. Until today we have carried out work projects with seven architects awarded the Pritzker Prize, which allows us to make a great difference and capacity for technical and local adaptation.
Its four reference models are designed to supply each of our needs: interior openings in mild climates in areas where insulation is not the most important (PH12), light systems with optical insulation (thermal and acoustic) for temperate climates (PH26 ), high-performance opening systems, for all types of outdoor elements and capable of insulating in all types of weather, in addition to having large glazed surfaces of up to 19 square meters (PH38), or, the most innovative, with a performance Unmatched thermal and acoustic (Minergie P and Passive House) ideal for very cold climates (PH60).
They have solutions for (almost) everything, so they become an indispensable visit if we want to give a new touch to our old building, or if we want to face a new construction with the greatest guarantees. The demanding market is making companies like this spend more investment in improving the construction elements that make a difference, such as, of course, the window.