CONVERSATION IN MMTW NEWS 02
FOCUS TECHNICAL ADVANCES
AMIITO TECHNICAL IMPROVEMENTS
How and why did you join the OTIIMA team?
FF: Both, Miguel and I, maintain a close friendship with José Maria (OTIIMA’s Founder) for several years now and have always related with the philosophy and intensity he places in all of his personal projects, as well as the passion he shows for architecture and art in general.
We consider ourselves very much alike. I recall José Maria telling me, early in our friendship, that all people had the obligation to contribute pronouncedly in society and leave a significantly positive footprint on the world. This kind of ideals we have in common are the main reasons for us to naturally keep some proximity along the years and collaborate in some important professional projects, until the most recent on, the minimal frame systems OTIIMA.
Working on the type of projects and with this professional philosophy, is so engaging you sometimes don’t even realize you are working, it seems more like a hobby. I believe it is for these reasons that the projects we have been developing together have been so successful. We all actually work for the enjoyment of it and not as an obligation. It is really important that everyone in the world falls in love with what they do. We believe that only by working this way we managed to accomplish great professional achievements. It was what we found along with José Maria.
MC: It all started about 10 years ago, when we all got professionally involved and had the opportunity to develop interesting work in the field of architecture and design. I recall the Art and Archeology Museum in Côa Valley or the Congress centre in Ávila. Those were projects that took us to another dimension. The imprint we left on the works makes us all very proud.
Meanwhile, after a few years, José Maria, knowing that we were involved in teaching in the architecture field, found interesting to invite us to join the organization of some workshops related to the subject of metalwork for architecture. He told us there was a huge gap between young architects and metalwork, one of the most interesting areas in the architectural theme, that needed to be addressed.
We started teaching some workshops which were based on transmitting newly architects the entire process, from the aluminum origin, to the final product development, using as an example the minimalist window OTIIMA. The truth is that, with these workshops, we were somehow forced to analyze all the solutions OTIIMA provided at the time with a “surgical eye”, especially because we had to study all those solutions in detail for later passing them on at out workshops. We ended up focusing and discussing a few of the OTIIMA systems elements that we thought could be improved, with the added benefit that we would have the “architect’s point of view”, since it is our base education and training, as well as the technical knowledge, since we had the past experience of architectural metalwork project development. We discussed those improvements with José Maria and he was immediately interested and excited about materializing them.
Tell us about improvements you developed for the OTIIMA windows system.
FF: When we carefully analyzed OTIIMA’s frame systems, we realized that there was room for improvement. We also took the time to do the same analysis with all the other solutions available in the market and recognized multiple faults.
Therefore, our priority, improvement wise, focused on three major aspects that we believed to be less positive in this type of minimal window systems: 1) the less effective performance in tightness to air and water; 2) the difficulty on using a single and effective system that encompassed both windows and sliding skylights that simultaneously enabled a stability never seen before in this kind of system; 3) make the whole peripheral profile as well as all its incorporating profiles perfectly flushed to the ground. Meaning, fully leveled with interior and exterior building finish materials.
All of the minimalist systems commercially available promise a flushed to the ground solution however, in reality, this does not happen entirely but rather only in the small upper edges of the rims, leaving the remaining profiles, best known as “door-bearings”, lowered. We wanted a continuous window, free from pavement edges between interior and exterior. That was our challenge.
MC: Another issue that we thought we could improve in the existing system was the aesthetics and functionality of the lock systems. Our goal was to provide the user of the window a similar experience to the aperture of car doors, which is by a single action, managing to open the lock and slide the window sheet. The concept is essentially completely conceal the window locks. After all if we are talking about minimalist window, why do the locks have to be visible? Why can’t they be integrated into the existing profiles and no longer be merely an “accessory”?
How did you imagine all these evolutions for this system?
FF: We believe that the challenge is not in the “imagination part” because that, for us architects, is not difficult. The true challenge is making technically possible a solution that initially appears to be utopic. Actually, it is very close to the exercise of making architecture, however, in this particular case, instead of designing a building, we are designing a major component of the building, the window.
There is a prejudice that the architect’s job is to imagine the building and design it. Afterwards, the components that integrate it have only to be selected within the solutions available on the market. This happens with windows, doors, floors, cladding, etc.
We believe that every product must have an identity, a solid concept. It mustn’t be just another product. The process of “imagining” the ideal window was quite simple, especially because we are architects, we conceived an idea that on the one hand had to be unique and perfect and on the other, had to work. When we say “work”, we mean both technically and functionally, user experience wise. We knew that we wouldn’t be inventing the window, however, we could make a difference reinventing the details that compose it.
MC: The way we overcame the technical difficulties to materialize the ideas that arose has a lot to do with the team spirit lived within OTIIMA. This team has qualified professionals with extensive experience and knowledge in the windows area.
Nowadays, there are also tools that allow us not only to design but also quickly prototype solutions. 3D printers brought a new way of thinking about the product, a faster and more efficient way to test and correct the product in its design stage. We rely on this new technology, because it is perfectly suited to this type of projects. We also ended up getting involved in the design of the new catalogs featuring the improvements made on OTIIMA windows but also the new developed solutions. We believed that this project would only make sense if we developed it since the first stroke, the first idea, until the presentation of the final product, through catalogs and technical books which support the architect on the design stage of his project.
From the very beginning we established a product family of minimalist windows, from the simplest internal partition solution, technically less demanding, to the most complex one, when thermal and permeability are highly demanding. At this point, the OTIIMA solutions cover 5 sliding series which admit glass boxes of 8mm to 54mm, and other traditional standard opening series (casement).
Which advantages does it bring to the product?
FF: Up to new intervention, the OTIIMA system already had numerous technical advantages, such as: glazing units up to 23 square meters (glasses with more than 6 meters high); use of reduced size profiles; and excellent thermal and acoustic performances. We currently have an aesthetically superior and technically most effective product.
With the use of horizontal rollers we achieved sloping windows without a limitation angle, even managing to flush horizontal windows or skylights. This solution offers unique stability when subjected to wind. The use of these horizontal rollers makes it even easier to open the window when it is subjected to high wind gusts. Now, with the use of rim profiles perfectly leveled to the floor finish material, the window no longer collects residue within the rails. It is both an aesthetic and functional advantage.
MC: Regarding the new lock systems, it is inevitable that OTIIMA has currently the best aesthetic and functional solution. With this new hidden lock solution, the window also attains a much higher level in terms of security and protection against intrusion.
What can an architect expect by using this product in his project?
FF: The architect has the advantage of purchasing a product with the best quality service guaranteed. OTIIMA has qualified professionals in each national market, capable of facing any challenge, ranging from technical support, helping the architect in his projects from the design phase, up to the assembly, technical assistance and after sales service.
MC: Whatever the project may be, whatever the special solution may be, OTIIMA is up for any challenge.
What are the advantages offered to the construction by using the OTIIMA system?
FF: The construction benefits from the minimalist window that succeeded unprecedented results in a laboratory unlike any other minimalist window on the market, reaching the higher classes: Water tightness: Class E1050 (3 classes above the second best solution in the market) – EN12208; Air Permeability: Class 4 – EN12207; Wind Resistance: Class C5 – EN12210; and Sound Insulation up to 37dB.
MC: The construction will be equipped with the current best market solution. The results do not lie. What else can we say?
Can we talk about a kind of new generation of minimalist windows systems?
FF: Much has been speculated about the next new generation within the world of minimalist windows. What will be the next big solution? What will be the next big thing?
Regardless of the improvements that can be done within existing solutions we know that the materials and processing techniques thereof, are evolving. We are aware of these evolutions and we work every day to position ourselves at the storefront of this market. At this point we feel at the forefront within the minimalist windows solutions available in the market, however there are new developments coming soon. A new generation of minimalist windows will rise.