Based in the heart of South San Francisco, CA, which boasts a rapidly growing biotech community, stands a recently built five-story 130,000-square-foot laboratory building and a separate parking structure clad in the Florim V5 system, which utilizes visible clips and 8- x 48-inch wood-look tiles. Each floor accommodates labs, a central line of support lab space and administrative office space. The porcelain slabs are mechanically fixed to the structure of the building by means of a patented system, while the ventilation chamber creates a space between the skin of the building and its structure that improves its thermal performance and guarantees protection from water and other weather elements.

Primarily, the architect specified the V5 system for its aesthetic value, as well as durability and resistance, according to Florim Ceramiche's New York technical department manager. “We did educate them during the specification process, as well as we educated the contractor,” he said. “I personally flew to San Francisco to train them.”

The technical department manager explained there are multiple benefits to Florim’s V5 system. “In addition to aesthetic, durability and resistance, it is also lightweight and a competitive price,” he said.  Additional advantages include low maintenance, stain and UV resistant, saves energy and is resistant to weather conditions.

Sustainability also plays a large role in the product’s design. The green “L” in the Florim logo reflects the company’s determination to safeguard the environment and community -- both where it was born and where it actively works worldwide. “Years of research and investment have made us a unique benchmark in environmental protection,” stated Florim. “This is proven by Florim data, certifications and awards obtained. Florim's commitment with regard to a sustainable footprint is not limited to compliance with current legal requirements, but sets itself goals for continual improvement of its product, its processes and the management of its supply chain.”

“We are LEED Certified,” said the New York technical department manager. “Not only that, Florim is a B Corp. The technical application that we offer can increase the thermal performance of the building up to 40%.”

In total, the installation of Florim’s V5 system, was completed in approximately three months. As with all projects, Florim's representative met with the installer to explain the system and shop drawings once they are issued.

“We provide the whole system so tiles, metal framing, fasteners to connect the metal framing to the structure of the building, shops and engineering report,” said the New York technical department manager. “We provide the components as separate pieces (kind of like Ikea), which allows to design based on the drawings and not the field condition because the installer can cut to the panels on site as per layout and field conditions. This simplifies a lot for us, as the supplier, and the installer.”

Florim agrees the request for ventilated facade systems in the U.S. has increased in recent years. “Architects are more and more interested in this application,” said the New York technical department manager. “We do a lot of ‘lunch and learns’ to architectural firms offering CEU credits. There is still very much to do to educate the architectural community on this product and technical application. We also do trade shows like Façade+ and we are planning to participate at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) show in San Francisco.”