The Boulevard range is manufactured in Switzerland from a proprietary, patent-protected form of Fibre Reinforced Cement [FRC].
FRC is a consolidated blend of cement, limestone, water, cellulose fibres, polyvinyl polymers and other inclusions; and the resulting composite is frostproof, UV-stable and highly impact resistant, and possesses an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio.
The Image Gallery outlines the production steps involved in manufacturing Boulevard planters and outdoor furniture, as briefly described below. More detailed insights into Boulevard production may be gained from the following videos:
The FRC material is mixed and blended on-site, and is moved to the Boulevard production area in sheet form. At this stage, the material is warm, damp and supple, with a feel akin to felt.
In the first stage of production, the sheets of FRC are cut to the template for the particular design being manufactured.
The cut sheets are rolled for transferring to the moulds. The sheets are also sprayed with water, as necessary, to avoid the material drying too quickly (as with all cement-based materials, a slow rate of water evaporation is necessary to ensure correct chemical hydration).
The cut sheets are laid on, and hand-moulded to the form. Shown here are two LOOP Chairs in production.
In most Boulevard designs, more than one cut sheet of FRC will be used, or a continuous sheet must be joined end-to-end. In these cases, the adjoining sections are overlaid, and the joins are consolidated using a vibrating pneumatic tool. At the end of this process, the fibres within the FRC of the two sheets are completely interwined, and there is no loss of strength across the join.
The item is then allowed to cure within its mould for a period of typically 2-4 days. Curing is vital to the strength, durability and permeability of the final product, and temperature and humidity within the curing room is controlled within correct boundaries. At the end of the curing process, the inner surfaces are sealed against water ingress (the outer surfaces will be sealed during painting).
Each Boulevard item is handmade by a single craftsman – from moulding and consolidating, through curing and sealing. As a final step, each item is uniquely labeled with both a unique product reference and date stamp, and with the name of the craftsman.
The item is then released from its mould, and transferred to the drying room.
The item is then left to dry for anything up to 4-5 weeks. During this period final curing will take place, and it is also vital that no residual water is left within the material prior to painting (which will completely seal the item).
A unique paint system has been developed for Boulevard. The paints used are industrial-grade and extremely robust, but they are air-drying rather than catalytic. This yields significant benefits compared with, for example, typical GRP paint systems; as minor repairs, such as scratches, can be easily touched-up in-situ by unskilled hands, without the item having to be returned for skilled repainting.
This image shows a final batch of items, post-production and ready for packing and distribution.
Contact IOTA T. 01934 522617