The two Russian design studios Speech and Gerasimov have completed the St. Petersburg Expo-forum, in which ceramic surfaces supplied by GranitiFiandre play an important role. The St. Petersburg Expoforum is a new trade fair centre located in the Pushkinsky district on the premises of the former state-owned railway company, Shushary. Located only ten minutes' drive from Pulkovo international airport, the centre is situated in a highly strategic location next to the Peterburgskoe Highway.
Built in close collaboration with the Italian company GranitiFiandre, Speech and Gerasimov's Expoforum project combines figurative sensibility with image creation on an architectural scale, with a focus on practicality and logistics. The design of the building's long façade derives from the intersection between a glass wave and towering vertical volumes. The result is an extremely simple, clean, clear shape in the tradition of classic trade fair centres. The orderly, geometric masterplan is completed with a specific transportation plan balancing vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The building’s rational composition of glass rectangles gives the ceramic cladding, in a powerful yellow with black graphics, the task of characterising and customising the exhibition halls. Thus the architects respond to an important theme in the design of trade fair facilities, the anonymous nature of these places and the difficulty people have finding their way around such large spaces.
Since GranitiFiandre became involved in the project in 2012, architects Sergei Tchoban of Speech and Evgeny Gerasimov worked with the company on coming up with a cladding solution. In addi-tion to the features of solidity and fire resistance (essential for the façades under Russian regula-tions), the architects explicitly wanted the slabs to have a colour and shine that would reflect light on winter days in St. Petersburg, when the sun is very low on the horizon. The first graphic trials using vintage prints were produced in 2013 on the selected tiles, 300 x 100 cm Fiandre MAXIMUM Extralite. The figures on the project are impressive: 40,000 sqm of ceramic surfaces, 3700 maxi-tiles 6 mm thick. It took 2321 tiles to reproduce the 24 antique maps and landscapes Speech and Gerasimov wanted to use, creating a particularly evocative graphic effect which made the walls of the Expoforum look like a big antique book on an architectural scale, which visitors "leaf through" as they stroll among and through the exhibition halls.
Design: LLC Evgeny Gerasimov and partners, Speech - Tchoban & Kuznetsov
Project leader: V. Khivrich
Project team: М. Lassen, О. Golovko, Т. Oskolkova, I. Markov, Bukina A.S., Dmitrieva N.N., Ramenskaya M.A., Uritskaya E.S., Filimonova I.V., Hmelenina A.N., Tolstova D.S., Shashkina G.A., Pluzhnik E.S., Rasskazova M.V., Lavrova J.A.
Developer - JSC ExpoForum
General contractor - JSC LenSpecSMU
Location: St. Petersburg (Russia), Pushkinsky district, Shushary settlement
Project: Fessing engineers, Ebert engineers, Si-Kvadro Company
Project start: 2007
Ceramic cladding (300 x 100 cm maxi Fiandre MAXIMUM Extralite tiles 6 mm thick)
Surface cladding: 40.000 mq
Tiles supplied: 3.700