Swiss Cafeteria is an eye-catcher

Umkirch, 02. September 2013

The Brugg-Windisch campus of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland is home to the College of Education, the College of Engineering and the College of Business. In mid-September, when the new semester begins, a new building will be used on campus. Included is a new cafeteria and a motorised art curtain. Gerriets installed a complicated track system to support this curtain at the end of August.

According to the plans and under the guidance of the well-known Swiss interior designer Ushi Tamborriello, the whole project was implemented. It included a Gerriets STUDIO/E track system and double-layer art curtains from the textile and design agency 4Spaces working with Jakob Schlaepfer.

Because the concept for natural smoke ventilation had already been calculated and approved the desire of the building owners to include these curtains jeopardized the project.

After long discussions with the planners, Gerriets convinced them that, in case of fire, five FRICTION -DRIVE motors, would open the otherwise freely movable curtains to a minimum of storage space and thus allow unhindered airflow. Further the storage space for the curtains was determined so that when parked they would not block the emergency exits at any time. The motors are controlled via the fire alarm system which ensures an independent power supply.

The 70 meter (230 foot) STUDIO/E track system was formed into an amorphous shape with the help of CNC bending machines in the Gerriets' metal workshop to match the strict specifications given by the architects.

The same amorphous shape, a stainless steel strip, was imbedded in the cafeteria floor to mark the course of the curtain on the floor. This is designed as a visual caution to prevent chairs being placed in the curtain’s path when they are opened. Naturally perpendicular alignment was important between the rails and the imaginary position of the curtain, where the track was installed 4 meters (13 foot) above the floor.

Equally challenging was supporting the tracks to the ceiling, which is covered with up to 5 meter (16 feet) wide panels, so the distance between the track suspension points sometimes had to be up to 6 meters (20 feet) wide. This could only be realized by the use of the 12 cm (4.7 inch) high rail system STUDIO / E and a specially designed three-point suspension, steel cable rigging. The entire track system extends 1.8 meters (6 feet) below the soffit.

The work of art was greatly admired at the opening ceremony and it is hoped students will also enjoy their lunch breaks on campus in the future.