Focchi Group

Smart Facades

smart facades ecosystem

Project name: Smart Facades

Launch date: January, 2019

Our challenge

A successful digital transformation can be achieved thanks to a clear, progressive vision.

Focchi Group asked us to help provide guidance for their transition from static to smart products.
This involved a rather radical transformation for the whole company, transitioning from a traditional static product to a smart, digitalized one.

Our approach to smart facades ecosystem

We envisioned the building facade of the future to be completely self-sufficient inspired directly from a natural eco-system.
Smart facade modules designed to bring emissions and wasted resources to zero, reducing energy consumption.

Sensors integrated into the insulation modules can optimize the facades in response to environmental factors such as the orientation of the sun. The new monitoring technology minimizes the need for human intervention.

The new DD technology® can be integrated with building insulation helping optimizing energy savings by activating specific components within the building facade. The system, designed as a concept, continuously monitors and optimizes relevant factors, such as the orientation of the sun for photovoltaic panels and water supply for green roofs.

One of the main advantages of the research’s new method is that monitoring is continuous and automatic, which means that human intervention is only needed when the system encounters a problem. In addition, all units active in the systems are in constant communication to report on the status of their area. Therefore construction and then maintenance workers should periodically check the data to make sure that the system components are working properly.

Scalable technology uses an algorithm to calculate specific conditions and needs inherent in each construction site. This information is compared to basic performance data to help facility management (FM). In order to better understand the factors contributing to excessive energy consumption, as well as providing a point of reference for understanding system capabilities and limitations.

biomimetic smart facade
The facade material is lightweight as dragonflies wings

The process

In order to propel Focchi Group into the future, a thorough assessment and analysis of current systems and workflows dynamics were in order.

We listened hard and learned as much as possible about how they implemented some of their latest projects.
Within the organization, the innovation managers pushing for change showed us, premises and tools where the work is carried out.
Focchi Group availed themselves of BMI software to blueprint and design their architectural envelopes’ work.

The assembly line was comprised of installation stations assorted with tools geared towards manual installation and communication between systems and units. Everything revolving around static components for static products.

DesignDiverso Solution

With the DesignDiverso solution, all these stations will be equipped with devices that will communicate directly with each other and the main servers within the headquarters.
Other devices helmets and goggles will also assist in the actual on-site envelopes modules installation.
Together we’ve estimated that integrating these devices within the work-flow will save a great deal of time.
It will also be halving recruiting, and training costs for the specialized workforce. Over €50M within the first year of implementation.

Among the benefits of integrating the DesignDiverso™ solution are drastic reduction of potential risks and safety hazards that make up for even more consistent savings.
Furthermore the introduction of these integrated systems that are interconnected together favors the production of a new revenue stream for Focchi Group which is data.

All the data sourced from devices in the two different environments, assembly and maintenance will be used to redistribute the revenue among the end-users as well which is an extremely innovative approach.

DesignDiverso is helping Focchi Group understanding and taking advantage of the data-driven business. Building around this new paradigm in which an asset can be owned, used and sold simultaneously several times.

DesignDiverso is helping to quantify and qualify the available data, processing it and turning it into a ready-made product to be sold to partners and complementors.

The rapidly expanding IoT infrastructure will allow Focchi Group to secure a substantial position in the magic quadrant. Eventually, get ahead and establish themselves as industry leaders within their vertical for the years to come.

bio-inspired smart facade
Monstera Deliciosa leaves fenestration

The prototype

The inspiration came from nature ecosystems and their self-sufficiency.

A natural ecosystem is a community of living and non-living organisms, where each component interacts together as a unit through biological, physical and chemical processes. The components enabling the interactions that make up the natural ecosystems include soil, plants, sunlight, air, water, microorganisms, and animals.
For instance thermites and how their mounds are “breathing”, but also how can organisms in nature never waste resources and always be 100% recyclable.
We also designed the system to be adaptable to different building types and climates.

The facades then will self-regulate by automatically responding to environmental conditions, mimicking homeostasis as in living organisms.

Key resources like water and sunlight are then used by the facade just like a living plant.
Some of the water drawn up through the roof exits the facade through “pores” polymer, hence the sweating.
As this ”sweat” evaporates, heat is removed from the air, providing a cooling effect.
However, if there isn’t enough water available or if relative humidity gets too high, the polymer close. 
The facade self-controls every segment locally allowing for zero energy consumption and emissions.

When sunlight warms the interior of a building during part of the day, the elastomer expands, creating shade inside the building. When the interior cools down, contraction occurs allowing more light to penetrate the building’s interior.

The whole process from production to the maintenance of the modules is then optimized by using DesignDiverso™ technology able to seamlessly integrate with the BIM solutions used to develop the blueprints of the product.
All the way to actual installation on-site and maintenance of the whole system.

smart facades ecosystem
Smart Facade
smart facades
Smart Module (detail)


Focchi Group were extremely pleased and happy with our concept insights and decided to start implementing the new smart facades based on the DesignDiverso vision.
With this solution, we are hoping to pioneer the completely self-sufficient and zero-emission facades landscape opening the way for a new breed of construction and sustainable eco-systems-buildings.

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