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Belgium: the successful renovation of Karl Hugo is visible at a glance with its new Corian® Exteriors facade

Friday 4 October 2019, by Giada Menda

September 2019 - Karl Hugo is a Belgian company at the forefront of technology and an international leader in the mechanical and metal markets. A family business from the start, it was founded in 1970 in Amel and is now managed by the second generation, brothers Bernd and Stephan Hugo. They decided for a complete renovation of the industrial site based on a project by designer Patrice Lejeune with the collaboration of architect Daniel Blaise from the studio planen.be. All buildings were redesigned to provide a better work environment and improved energy efficiency, while reducing the environmental footprint of this innovative business. In order to promote its know-how and its high-quality corporate image, Karl Hugo was given a new facade in Corian® Exteriors, an innovative, reliable and eye-catching exterior cladding solution based on Corian® Solid Surface, a product which was also used for a variety of interior applications.

 

 

The massive renovation began about ten years ago. The old buildings of the 1980s were completely stripped and their organization rearranged under the banner of a sustainability. In addition to the renovation of the machinery and infrastructures, the roofing, offices and production halls have been insulated. This allowed for the installation of 1,060 photovoltaic panels producing 260,000 kWh of electricity, which correspond to about 60% of the company electric usage. The modernization of the company also includes increased comfort for its employees and an improved lighting system with the integration of LED illumination throughout. In addition, all production areas have been fitted with a high-performance heating system and triple-glazed insulated windows to provide more comfort and natural light. Lastly, extraction filters were installed in the production halls to improve the air quality.

 

Corian® Exteriors, an exterior cladding solution based on Corian® Solid Surface, was used for the new facade of Karl Hugo headquarters in Amel, Belgium; project by Patrice Lejeune and architect Daniel Blaise/planen.be; photo Ilicomm/Sabine Schweigert for Corian® Design, all rights reserved.

 

The massive renovation began about ten years ago. The old buildings of the 1980s were completely stripped and their organization rearranged under the banner of a sustainability. In addition to the renovation of the machinery and infrastructures, the roofing, offices and production halls have been insulated. This allowed for the installation of 1,060 photovoltaic panels producing 260,000 kWh of electricity, which correspond to about 60% of the company electric usage. The modernization of the company also includes increased comfort for its employees and an improved lighting system with the integration of LED illumination throughout. In addition, all production areas have been fitted with a high-performance heating system and triple-glazed insulated windows to provide more comfort and natural light. Lastly, extraction filters were installed in the production halls to improve the air quality.

The final stage of this vast restructuring began in 2018 and focused on the renovation of the administrative buildings, both its interiors and exteriors. Solutions needed to be found that related to the company values and its commitments concerning the well-being of its employees, respect for the environment, innovation and the production of solutions with high added value for its clientele of multinational companies. The assembly of these aspects was conveyed to the architectural project through the choice of Corian® Exteriors, a durable and resistant material that was the common denominator in the many design solutions for the exteriors and interiors of the Karl Hugo premises.

 

Corian® Solid Surface was used for interior wall cladding applications at Karl Hugo headquarters in Amel, Belgium; project by Patrice Lejeune and architect Daniel Blaise/planen.be; photo Ilicomm/Sabine Schweigert for Corian® Design, all rights reserved.

 

Inside the large administrative building, Corian® Solid Surface was used for the wall cladding of the common areas, in the same colour as the façade. With its smooth and silky texture, perfect outlines, the quality of the details and its white hue, the cladding made with Corian® Solid Surface is an ideal combination of aesthetics and functionality. To identify the different areas, the names are engraved and backlit on the white walls in Corian® Solid Surface. This solution blends discreetly into the interior environment and facilitates the circulation inside the building, making it welcoming and elegant. Corian® Solid Surface was also used for the top of a large table for meetings with a clean linear design. It is homogeneous and pleasant to touch, with incorporated and centrally positioned steel elements with sockets for cables and multi outlets.

 

Corian® Solid Surface was used in combination with steel for the large table top at Karl Hugo headquarters in Amel, Belgium; project by Patrice Lejeune and architect Daniel Blaise/planen.be; photo Ilicomm/Sabine Schweigert for Corian® Design, all rights reserved.

 

Corian® Solid Surface was used for interior wall cladding applications at Karl Hugo headquarters in Amel, Belgium; project by Patrice Lejeune and architect Daniel Blaise/planen.be; photo Ilicomm/Sabine Schweigert for Corian® Design, all rights reserved.

 

Designer Patrice Lejeune conceived the entire multi-year renovation project for Karl Hugo: the branding, the reorganization of the workspaces, the interior design and the design of the facade.

"The design of the facade reflects Karl Hugo's professional standing and prestigious clients around the world. It is a company that works in work areas that consider the hundredths of a millimetre. It even produces particle accelerators! The objective was to visually display the professionalism of the company and its precision, and for these aspects to be visible from the company carpark. With Corian® Exteriors we were able to achieve extremely accurate details both for the interior and exterior spaces. Corian® has given us the possibility of creating the sharp edges of the facade – and its self-cleaning capacities are very appreciated,” says Patrice Lejeune.

 

Corian® Exteriors, an exterior cladding solution based on Corian® Solid Surface, was used for the new facade of Karl Hugo headquarters in Amel, Belgium; project by Patrice Lejeune and architect Daniel Blaise/planen.be; photo Ilicomm/Sabine Schweigert for Corian® Design, all rights reserved.

 

Bernd Hugo (right), CEO and CFO of Karl Hugo and designer Patrice Lejeune (left); photo Ilicomm/Sabine Schweigert for Corian® Design, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

The renewed architecture for Karl Hugo is enduring and people-orientated, and a statement of responsibility towards the environment. Thanks to its versatility, Corian® Solid Surface forms a coherent architectural project, creating a balanced visual and tactile combination that will retain its identity and its unique properties for many years.

About Karl Hugo (www.karlhugo.com) – A world-renowned company with activities in the mechanical and metal industries, KARL HUGO prides itself on being at the forefront of technology in its field. As the Belgian market leader, the company designs and builds bespoke industrial machinery, groups of machines for production lines as well as individual parts, small series, and mechanical or mechanically welded sub-assemblies.

Furthermore, KARL HUGO has developed the design and manufacture of coil coaters especially used in industry for continuous sheet-metal coating lines. Consequently, the company supplies this type of machine to large steelworks for automotive applications or in the construction industry.

Finally, it specialises in the design and production of vacuum or pressure chambers. It builds customised sterilizers in a variety of sizes, vacuum chambers or particle accelerators used by the health sector or in applied research.

The company's location in Eastern Belgium puts it at the heart of an international market which offers great opportunities. Close to Germany, and near France as well, the company deals with many different sectors. These include, for example, the domains of chemicals, glass, energy and right up to industrial scale production. It is a supplier to an increasing number of multinational companies, large enterprises and SMEs, both within Europe and beyond.

Last but not least, KARL HUGO is heavily committed to all of the sustainable axes of the enterprise. The managers have made this one of their priorities. All aspects are taken into account, be it the wellbeing of teams, the company's engagement towards the region's economic growth, or the integration of Environmental Management in the corporate policy. The company is a reference in this field.