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HI-MACS rises to the challenge of a monumental staircase

The workable, hard-as-stone solid surface composite with no visible joints has been used to create a 'monolithic' stairway at the headquarters of French insurance firm CMMA

In association with
Staircase in oak and HI-MACS solid surface material at the CMMA building in Châlons-en-Champagne, France.
Staircase in oak and HI-MACS solid surface material at the CMMA building in Châlons-en-Champagne, France. Credit: Eric Vanden

Last year architects Patrick Planchon and Franck Deroche were commissioned to work on the restoration of French insurance company CMMA's headquarters in Châlons-en-Champagne. Central to the project was the construction of a staircase.

The client’s specifications were simple: an atrium staircase that would become the backbone of the building, something that would symbolise the dependability and solidarity associated with a mutual insurance company.

Planchon and Deroche tested various materials before settling on HI-MACS - the solid surface composite made from acrylic, minerals and natural pigments. It stood out for its performance and its ability to embody a monolithic look without visible joints. While solid as stone, it can be worked like wood, which allowed fine woodworker Landry Gobert to shape it to the architects’ designs. HI-MACS is also easy to integrate with natural materials such as oak in high-end projects. 

According to Planchon, the finished staircase offers 'a combination of elegant mass and firm airiness'. It occupies the space like a sculpture, with the various offices and reception areas wrapping around it over three storeys.

  • 'A combination of elegant mass and firm airiness': The staircase rises through the atrium.
    'A combination of elegant mass and firm airiness': The staircase rises through the atrium. Credit: Eric Vanden
  • Pure white HI-MACS contrasts with the honeyed tones of oak.
    Pure white HI-MACS contrasts with the honeyed tones of oak. Credit: Eric Vanden
  • Handrail with recessed joints and angled lighting.
    Handrail with recessed joints and angled lighting. Credit: Eric Vanden
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Stairs and landings have been covered with wooden slat panelling attached to a metal frame. The wood, varnished oak with a matt finish, is an extension of the ground-floor parquet, a touch that extends warming tones up and out to all floors.

Staircase railings are clad with 12-mm bonded Alpine White HI-MACS panels. A handrail aligns with the inner side and includes recessed joints and lighting fitted at a 60-degree angle to illuminate that part of the rail held by visitors.

Every room and space in the building has been designed to reference back to the staircase with a careful mix of warm tones, from natural wood shades, the grey/browns of the wall cladding and the deep red of the furniture and decor - all offset by the immaculate white of the HI-MACS.

The solid surface material has also been used to make four modular conference tables and consoles in the CMMA board room and desks and slat panelling for the various workspaces.

  • CMMA board room with conference tables and consoles in HI-MACS Alpine White.
    CMMA board room with conference tables and consoles in HI-MACS Alpine White. Credit: Eric Vanden
  • Workspace desk in HI-MACS Alpine White.
    Workspace desk in HI-MACS Alpine White. Credit: Eric Vanden
  • Handrail in HI-MACS Alpine White.
    Handrail in HI-MACS Alpine White. Credit: Eric Vanden
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HI-MACS can be moulded into any shape and has a smooth, non-porous and visually seamless surface that offers many advantages over conventional materials. It is widely used for architectural and interior applications, such as sculptural and high performance wall-cladding or kitchen, bathroom and furniture surfaces, in commercial, residential and public space projects. 

For more information and technical support, visit himacs.eu

 

Contact:

01732 897820

info@himacs.eu 

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