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New world class swimming facility flowers in Budapest

T he 17th Swimming World Championships are took place in the second half of July in the Hungarian capital Budapest; well-known for its thermal baths and bathing culture. The Duna Aréna (Danube Arena), the main competition site, is impressive because of its location, striking architecture and state-of-the art pools, which were created using ceramic tiles from Agrob Buchtal.      

In the interior of the building, there is a 50 by 25 by 3 metre competition pool, a 50 by 25 metre warm-up pool with two depths – 2.2 and 2.8 metre) due to its movable floor, a 50 by 25 by 5 metre diving pool, and a 12.5 by 8 by 0.8 metre learners’ pool.

In the outdoor area of the Duna Aréna, there is a 50 by 25 by 2.25 metre pool with a roof for weather protection and a 25 by 21 by 2.2 metre pool for short course competitions and training.

In addition to the pools themselves, around 2,000 sq. metres of Agrob Buchtal’ ChromaPlural range were used for the walls of changing rooms/corridors.  Around 6,000 sq. metres of Agrob Buchtal’s Quantum range, with grid profile, were used for the pool surrounds.

The Császár-Komjádi swimming centre directly opposite Duna Aréna on the other bank of the Danube also features ceramic tiles from Agrob Buchtal.  There, the athletes can train in first-class conditions.

It was originally planned that Budapest would be the venue for the swimming world cup in 2021.  However, when the Mexican city of Guadalajara withdrew as the 2017 host city in February 2015, plans for Budapest were revised and brought forward.

Construction started in May 2015 and, by spring of 2017, the most essential facilities of the Duna Aréna were complete.  This was followed by the pools in the outdoor area, meaning that the whole facility was completed in time.

From the outside, the Duna Aréna appear both self-confident and, at the same time, filigree.  This is due to the elegant, wavelike forms of the arena’s façades.

For the edges of all the pools, the designers specified Agrob Buchtal’s System Finland.  The sloping, beach-like pool edge inhibits water backflow and thus prevents the swimmers in the outer lanes from being at a disadvantage.  

The constant water depth of the competition pool of 3 metres, rather than the usual 2.20 metres, should create ideal conditions for the athletes.  All other aspects of the pools also meet the requirements of FINA.

The ChromaPlural tiles used in the pools, feature the unpretentious and classic colours of white and blue in order to avoid unnecessary distraction. The same applies to the pool surrounds where the alabaster-white of the Quantum range tiles is fresh and neutral. In addition, the grid profile not only is slip-resistant but also easy to clean.

Dr. Marcel Ferencz and György Détári, both from napur architect kft, Budapest, were responsible for the architecture of the new sports facility. The building is located just 4 km from the city centre on the eastern bank of the Danube.  The Duna Aréna has a  6,000 spectators seating capacity, while temporary installations at the swimming world cup offered an additional 6,000 to 7,000 seats.

After the world cup, one section will be accessible to the public, while the other part will be used for competitive sports and for training use by young swimming talent.

A final benefit of using Agrob Buchtal tiles is that they boast an HT (Hydrophilic Tiles) coating.  This innovative solution is durably baked onto the glaze in the factory and is so robust that even floor tiles can be provided with it. The effect is activated by natural or artificial light. Tiles with HT are particularly easy to clean, have an antibacterial effect without using chemical products and eliminate unwelcome odours such as chlorine or air pollutants, thus ensuring a healthy indoor climate.
Picture source (all motifs): AGROB BUCHTAL GmbH / Péter Molnàr

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Solus Ceramics adds a distinctive style sense to new Italian restaurant

Solus Ceramics has brought a sense of style and individuality to a new and unique sour dough pizzeria in Crystal Palace, South East London.

Designed by Richardson Studio, Four Hundred Rabbits is a restaurant with an eclectic Aztec twist.  Wanting to capture the mood of this unique combination, the designers created an environment that was fun, simple and inventive ... and a destination that was far from traditional.

Featured in the 2016 Restaurant and Bar Design Awards, the design of Four Hundred Rabbits was kept simple using standard timbers and pegboard to create a layered backdrop to the colour and artwork.

Instead of using conventional Italian colours for the aesthetic, the designers specified Solus Ceramics’ Bright and Modular ranges and opted for a modern approach by transforming red and white into pink and jade.

These imaginative colours can be seen in the tile and grout selection, with pink tiles and pink grout applied to the bar front and counter and the jade tiles used in the bathroom.

The Bright range is a simple collection of energetic porcelain tiles suitable for use on floors and walls. Characterised by a wide selection of plain and uniform colours, Bright treads the path of regularity.

With over 40 colours available, the range is suitable for all types of interior design, lending a contemporary and realistic feel to any space.

The Modular range boasts a range of tile sizes to create stand out designs, whether it’s a checkerboard effect, diagonal stripes or a triple colour mix.

As used in Four Hundred Rabbits’ design aesthetic, all of the tiles within the range can be paired with different coloured grouts, ensuring the tiles offer unique and completely individual facades.

Modular is available in over 40 different colours, ranging from pearly greys, vivid electric blues and deep shades of burgundy.

Celia Richardson, Design Director of Richardson Studio, commented: “The brief set out by Dan and Duncan Edwards, the two brothers who own Four Hundred Rabbits, was to create an atmosphere that was an exciting contemporary space, splashed with playful pastels.”

“The tiles we used can be seen on the bar front and counter.  All of the tiles used were 100 by 100mm in size and that allowed us to maintain a fluid sense of continuity throughout the restaurant.”

“We specified Solus Ceramics’ Bright range not only for its aesthetic appeal, but also because of its durability, helping to meet all of our clients requirements.  To ensure the restaurant had its own identity, we needed to make sure we had a selection of colours available to choose from that offers a unique individual style.”

“The overall result of the project is something we are incredibly pleased with. It has been great to see our ideas come to life and allow other people to share something that we created. Working closely with Solus Ceramics has allowed us to be imaginative and create a design aesthetic that will stay unique forever.”

John Rose, Area Sales Manager at Solus Ceramics, said: “A fantastically eclectic project, Four Hundred Rabbits showcases the versatility of tiles and particularly how a relatively simple, neutral product can be utilised to create something rather enchanting.”

“The regular ‘grid’ style layout of the tiles, along with the interesting grout choices, creates a memorable eye-catching feature that perfectly conveys the versatility of the brand.”

Solus Ceramics
T: 0121 753 0777
Richardson Studio