PLAYFUL AND LONG-LASTING PLAYHOUSES It’s not the first project ever realised by designer Maarten Makelberge from Studio Mowk. He made his first playhouses back in 2014 for the Cactus festival in Bruges. Later the houses were also used at a school event. These first houses, however, were made of Multiplex. A less durable material for long-term use outdoors. He therefore went in search of another attractive, playful and long-lasting material. The fibre cement cladding range from SVK turned out to be just the job. THE POWER OF COLORMAT CLASSIC Colormat Classic cladding from SVK was chosen for a variety of practical reasons, but also for its aesthetic qualities. An important element was certainly the strength and resilience of the houses. The fact they are installed on a playground means they need to stand up to some rough and tumble. Thanks to their hydrophobic treatment, the panels also have water-repellent protection which allows a gentle and natural ageing process to occur. Maarten was no stranger to the fact that SVK had beautiful and high-quality products. Indeed, his own house is covered in natural grey Ardonit slates, which clearly puts SVK at an advantage. NATURAL COLOUR NUANCES The natural appearance of the colours in the Colormat range was also very important. The colours selected for this project were H406 Camel, H407 Daybreak, H409 Sunset, H403 Storm. The fact that Colormat panels are mass-tinted means they have a soft appearance with some colour nuances. This is the opposite for Trespa or Rockpanel panels. In this case the colours appear flat and machine-like. ILLUSTRATIVE CARTOON Printed on the inside of the houses, there are some drawings by the illustrator Kaatje Vermeire. This gets children really absorbed in a story. Maarten from Studio Mowk claims that this was the biggest challenge in the project. Given the weight of the panels it was not easy to get them through a digital press. Even so, after some testing, they were successful. A Polyurethane coating was also applied to the print in order to keep it well-stuck to the panel. CHALLENGES The challenges didn’t stop there, as Maarten wanted to make the most realistic possible house which equally respected the installation and ventilation rules for fibre cement cladding. This required some careful measuring, right down to the millimetre. But that’s what Maarten at Studio Mowk likes doing best. Using lovely materials in a context other than the traditional one. In doing so he can give the materials a new dimension. The children at Campus Weststraat are certainly delighted with it. The intention is for many other schools, nursery schools and festivals to follow the lead in installing these playhouses. Some schools have already signed up to install these playhouses on their playgrounds. With thanks to: Maarten Makelberge from Studio Mowk, Illustrator Kaatje Vermeire and the VBS Primary Schools in Blankenberge Photography: Maarten Makelberge
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