Interview with Craig Smith from DEX Industries, precaster of the Louis Vuitton store facade in Miami
Craig Smith, founder of DEX industries, precaster of the Ductal® UHPC facade for the new Louis Vuitton store in Miami
Why was Ductal® UHPC a good material choice for the Louis Vuitton project?
Several factors gave Ductal® the edge on this project. First, it required a material that could be engineered to withstand hurricane force winds -- a reality of the south Florida environment. As well, the façade design required a material that could provide a minimal thickness (25 mm) and a unique finish to meet the high standards of quality that is expected by Louis Vuitton. Even with the intricate design of this facade, Ductal® made it relatively easy for us to cast the forms, demould the next day, and then have only minimal finish work.
The facade design required a material that could provide a minimal thickness and a unique finish to meet the high standards of quality expected by Louis Vuitton
What challenges did you face during production?
While many forms did repeat, the design still required several different forms; some were actually only used once. With some, we used blackouts in the rubber to cast smaller sizes to get more use out of the form. Also, the project had a fast-track schedule, so we built additional forms and casting tables in order to accommodate a greater number of pours per day. Another challenge was the corner forms which were made in L-shaped units to eliminate any need for a cold joint. After finding the proper angle in which to cradle the form and the structural requirement to control deflection, the material flowed well and the corners came out almost perfect.
What are your plans for using Ductal® again in the future?
We are currently looking at several projects where Ductal® has been specified for use in other exterior elements and facades. Internally, we are also getting our design pencils out and looking at some furniture creations that will exploit the material's characteristics and the production of elements with a superior finish and complex shape.
Discover the facade of the new Louis Vuitton store in Miami