The window frame as a design element

In the words of Giuseppe Bavuso, who since 2011 has been designing windows for Erco that are not only functional but also blend in with the walls of the house.

Ten years ago, Giuseppe Bavuso, architect and designer, took up the challenge of transforming the window frame from a simple functional element into a true design object capable of enhancing the domestic environment. Today, one of his new challenges is to design windows that are not only functional and aesthetically pleasing, but also able to provide good thermal insulation and have the lowest possible environmental impact. We asked him directly how and why.

2021 marks an important milestone: 10 years of collaboration with Erco. What is your assessment of this decade?
It is absolutely positive. We are talking about a family-owned company made up of people with great intelligence and human values. And, above all, a desire to grow, a constant stimulation for those who, like me, are involved in creative management and design: there is ample time for expression and experimentation.

Has the design approach changed? What role has technological progress played?
The working method is the same. What has changed is the software that has allowed us to optimise flows. But above all, the company’s production approach has changed: new materials have been introduced and consequently technologies suitable for processing have been acquired. Above all, aluminium for the structural design of the collections is processed in-house, bearing in mind that the production of window frame is absolutely customised. It is therefore not feasible to delegate its production to external companies.

The window frame as a functional but also aesthetic architectural element. What were the main challenges you faced?
The window frame has always been linked to the world of construction industry, most of the time it was chosen for functional and performance reasons only. Without any real reference to the overall design of the building. Our job was to elevate it to a furnishing product and link it to the world of interior design, therefore an integral part of the internal organisation of the house, in keeping with the lifestyle of the people who live in it. In this way, the window becomes a design element just as a table or a door can be conceived and perceived.

Would you like to tell me about the Dry and Shade projects? What is the common thread that links them?
The interesting thing about both projects was the idea of splitting the project into two levels: interior and exterior. We considered the window element as being split into two different projects, both consisting of a synthetic resin core. The latter is a material that provides optimal performance and a great thermal insulation. The exterior of the window frame is customisable and creates a connection with the facade of any building, as the interior does, creating an aesthetic continuity with the domestic environment. The aim was to realise a window frame that was not a monolith but a fluid element made up of two sides consistent with the spaces they interface with.

How did the technical and design aspects meet?
From the design point of view, we chose a minimalist design that allows, for example, the hinges to be completely invisible. Sustainability linked to thermal insulation is central to these projects, but also from the point of view of the choice of materials they are made with. In addition to glass, which is the main element and always recyclable, we worked a lot with aluminium, which has great durability compared to other more traditional materials. It is a material that can be recovered and reintroduced into the production process, and the production waste itself is recycled and 100% exploited through melting. I believe that a designer has a great responsibility in this sense, he can guide the manufacturer’s choice to more sustainable technologies and materials.

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