i.design EFFIX: ideal material for creativity

i.design EFFIX, a breakthrough advance in the construction material industry, is seen as an ideal material for creativity. On the occasion of the Vietbuild Construction International Exhibition, Dela Huong, CEO of Nguyen for Art (NFA) company, the exclusive distributor of i.design EFFIX in Vietnam, and Le Phuoc Anh, Ph.D. in Geography and Architecture-Planning who graduated from the Université Toulouse II in France, talked to VIR’s Hong Anh about the advantages of this material and how it would benefit professionals in the field of architecture field as well as developers.

Nguyen for Art (NFA) is the exclusive distributor of i.design EFFIX in Vietnam

How long has Nguyen for Art been distributing i.design EFFIX in Vietnam? What prompted the company to introduce the material in the first place?

Dela Huong: NFA is a Hanoi-based company founded by an economics expert with a deep passion for the arts. In 2011, through trade promotion activities, he introduced i.design EFFIX, manufactured by Socli, a French subsidiary of HeidelbergCement Group, with the desire to contribute to the development of Vietnamese architecture.

NFA’s products highlight the Vietnamese design and manufacturing creativity by combining truly innovative construction materials from the West.

NFA’s slogan is “Each product is no longer a simple item, but a work of Art,which prescribes three conditions: subtle and meaningful design, handmade creations, and innovative materials.

Why is i.design EFFIX considered an ideal material for creativity?

Dela Huong: Human creativity is unlimited, not only in the field of art but in all areas of life.

One important question is how we can convert an idea into reality. In the cases of architecture, interior design or sculpture, there are many obstacles that can emerge. Among them, the physical or mechanic limitations of traditional construction materials, such as wood, stone and sand, are one of the primary concerns for any artist.

Dela Huong, CEO of NFA

Thanks to the remarkable elasticity of i.design EFFIX, it is now possible to solve all shape issues. The material also has high compressive strength, with 120Mpa (five to six times as much as that of traditional concrete) and in some cases even higher than 200Mpa. Hence, it allows architects and designers to easily create complex textures, surfaces, and shapes and being audacious knowing the potential of the material.

Thanks to i.design EFFIX, professionals can come up with ideas beyond the framework of traditional thinking. In other words, i.design EFFIX is a catalyst for creativity.

What other special properties does i.design EFFIX have?

Dela Huong: In areas like architecture, home design, and sculpting, nice shapes and solid structures are not enough. One important criterion to satisfy is expressiveness.

As for i.design EFFIX, first of all, the material’s texture and feel simply draws anyone in—it just begs to be interacted with. Also, different temperatures will give different feelings depending on the product and its surface.

Second is the variety of colors. Third is the glaze that is naturally formed on the surface of any product made of i.design EFFIX. Last but not least, designers can combine the use of i.design EFFIX with other materials, such as optic fiber, aluminum, glass, wood or stone, leading to endless possibilities.

These properties of i.design EFFIX contribute to diversifying the “expressiveness” of the products.

What advantages does i.design EFFIX bring to architecture?

Le Phuoc Anh: The development of architecture always goes hand in hand with the development of science and technology. Human imagination has no limits, but to make an idea into reality depends on the technology’s ability to respond.

Le Phuoc Anh, PhD in Geography and Architecture-Planning, who graduated from Université Toulouse II in France

For architects, the advent of new materials opens up new opportunities for unleashing their creative potential, and they are also a new source of inspiration.

I.design EFFIX is actually an ultra high-performance mortar with special properties that provide very high mechanical properties. By being able to seamlessly combine it with a variety of materials, i.design EFFIX offers added values to interior and exterior architectural projects in urban environments.

Furthermore, even though it is a high-tech material, i.design EFFIX can be used for various artworks made by hand, instead of mass production applications.

How does i.design EFFIX support creativity in the field of architecture?

Le Phuoc Anh: In order to build a balcony of several metres, for example, contractors have to use reinforced concrete with a thickness of over ten centimetres. However, when they use i.design EFFIX, the required minimum thickness can be reduced to a few centimetres only, reflecting a tremendous technological advance and the performances of the material.

Moreover, the surface of products made from i.design EFFIX can create a special visual effect. This may cause viewers to feel that the structures have less or zero weight, which is not only unique, but straight out extraordinary.

So far, has i.design EFFIX been widely applied in Vietnam?

Dela Huong: Nguyen for Art has completed many projects using i.design EFFIX. We divided them into two groups: one for products with a non-traditional structure and the second with products for decorative purposes.

What are the most practical applications of i.design EFFIX in Vietnam?

Le Phuoc Anh: i.design EFFIX can be used for interior and exterior applications either for furniture or architectural elements. However, they both have a common point which is the ability to surprise and take one’s breath away.

A new class of customers has emerged during Vietnam’s impressive economic growth over the last decade. For these customers, construction materials must meet their demands and reflect their personalities. In this context, the practical and promising applications of i.design EFFIX are a good example.


Non-structure Staircases

Idea: Architect Toan To Nhu

Design: Architect Tran Anh Tuan

Process: NFA Jsc.

Material: i.design EFFIX

Total length: 900 cm

Width: 110 cm

Thickness: 7.5 cm

Nearly 50km of optic fibre integrated into each staircase creates around 5,000 lighting points on both sides.

The stairs are likely to hang in mid-air thanks to only two props: the first against concrete beams and the second against floor. Moreover, the floor and stairs are of the same colour, which also contributes to the effect of hovering.

Translucent Wall

Design and Process: NFA Jsc.

Material: Translucent T.light, an application of i.design EFFIX

The light through the wall creates a resplendent effect on the other side thanks to the hundreds of thousands of subtle bright dots that shine with a lighting intensity about 10 per cent of the original source.

How do architecture and fine arts students from universities benefit from using high-tech materials, especially i.design EFFIX?

Le Phuoc Anh: As I said before, technology not only liberates our creative energies, but also inspires us to dream of never-before seen design ideas. In other words, technology nowadays plays a central role in innovation.

Early exposure to new materials like i.design EFFIX can help students improve their knowledge and, more importantly, develop flexible and dynamic thinking regarding the materials they use.

What are NFA’s expectations for i.design EFFIX in Vietnam?

Dela Huong: For professionals, NFA strongly believes that i.design EFFIX will become a useful tool that will stimulate creativity and help artist express their ideas in new shapes and structures that were impossible before.

As for developers, i.design EFFIX, an advance of the construction materials industry, will contribute significantly to bringing a breath of contemporary life into their works.

Therefore, NFA also hopes that developers will recognise the value behind this new material and its potential to become one of the most valuable assets for their projects.

Below are some photos of applications of  i.design EFFIX:

by VIR

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