FORM + FUNCTION
Expanding the palette of coloured steel surfaces
by Julia Preston, Photo: Stéphane Brugger
THE RECENTLY COMPLETED STRUCTUBE HEAD OFFICE IN LAVAL, QC – THE LARGEST WAREHOUSE IN THE CITY.
Picture a child with a red crayon.
Ask them to draw a house, and you’ll likely see a rectangle topped with a triangle. This distinctive shape has come to symbolize home.
When Structube was looking to construct a new head office, store and warehouse, this iconic house image was integral to the design of the building’s façade.
Structube is known for its furnishings, décor and home accessories. To emphasize the company’s focus on home, GKC Architects added the outline of a house to the front entry of the new Structube head office. The distinctive house shape, in Structube’s signature red, highlights the Montreal-based company’s raison d’etre.
The $80-million, 60,000-square-metre facility opened in Laval
in 2018. The new building is the largest warehouse in the city. It
enabled Structube to discontinue rented warehouses and centralize administrative offices as well as distribution under one roof. A 3,700 square metre store included in the complex also allows the company to showcase a wide range of products.
The building is constructed with insulated metal panels (IMP)
by Norbec. Installation of the IMP was completed by Revêtement RHR in record time explains Laurence Roy, marketing manager for Norbec.
“The speed of installation is one of many benefits of insulated metal panels,” she says. “The envelope can be closed very quickly using IMP, making it ideal to start the work in the interior as fast as possible and have the store running as soon as possible.
When it came to the vibrant entry feature, Norbec created
a custom paint colour that is an exact match Structube’s
Three layers of PVDF paint were applied to the panels to
achieve the desired colour. PVDF, a resin-based coating system,
is extremely durable. At the same time, it is a cost-effective
alternative to metallic systems, which require a clear coat.
Norbec’s PVDF coatings meet rigorous requirements for
aesthetic quality, flexibility, surface strength, chemical and
This new hue is now part of Norbec’s colour palette. The
company offers 25 colors in SMP and PVDF finishes and
they continue to expand. At the beginning of this year, they
added electric yellow and vibrant red, and horizon white is
“Over the years, architects have loved creating a contrast
with light and dark colours, as well as patterns along certain
walls of the construction. [Or] sometimes they are looking for a
pop of colour on a building,” says Roy. The wide range of colours
available–from whites and greys to reds, blues and greens–
help clients like Structube achieve any vision.
Clients can order a mini fan of steel samples to get the real
visual of the colours and be able to make the best choices for
In addition to colour, Norbec offers several types of profiles
and finishes to give a different texture and style to the panel.
There are three profile options: silkline (striated), micro ribbed or fluted. The finishes can be smooth or embossed depending on
For Structube, GKC chose the silkline profile with a smooth finish. Silkline uses striations to create better rigidity in the steel. This rigidity makes it possible to manufacture longer panels, especially in dark colours.
IF MORE VERSATILITY IS DESIRED, INTEGRATED ELEMENTS CAN BE ADDED TO THE METAL PANELS TO ALLOW FOR EVEN MORE CREATIVE EXPRESSION
“If more versatility is desired, integrated elements can be added
to the metal panels to allow for even more creative expression.
Films can be printed on and then installed on the panels, causing no damage to them. Aluminum accents are popular additions, whether it be sections, overlay designs or even wooden accents in order to create a meaningful concept for the building,” explains Roy.
Clients can recreate the look of aluminum with prepainted steel
by combining a smooth finish with no profile. This achieves the
aluminum look, but with the benefit of superior insulation at a lower cost. When compared to aluminum or aluminum composite panels, IMP are a very economical solution for large area projects.
All of Norbec’s applications are installed using Z-shaped brackets, ensuring the panels are not damaged during the process, but enabling architects like GKC to be as creative as they would like. Whatever finish clients choose, the panels are easily washable and weather and corrosion resistant, which means Structube’s red entry will remain a vibrant feature for years.