Passion, expertise and dedication: these are the shared values of every Käslin team member. The company – which is led by Lukas Käslin, the son of its founder – presently has 14 employees, each of whom shares the same belief: "There's nothing more inspiring than creating something beautiful with wood." While the joinery firm is especially experienced in kitchen design and interior fitting, it also accepts special assignments: for example, the splendid staircase that leads up to Steinhausen Library, or the installation of the acoustic walls for the municipality's School of Music. This assignment – called the Wanaka Project – was completed with the exclusive assistance of Lamello system solutions, and we met with Lukas Käslin to talk about it.
Former Zurich architect Urs B. Roth, who today leads the Atelier für Konkrete Kunst, proved just this. It was Urs who developed the mathematical formula used to design the acoustic walls for Steinhausen School of Music's 23 rooms. The walls' design is based on an ellipse consisting of different parts. The 21 parts that form the ellipse have different sizes, angles and orientations. The walls consist of a total of 5,875 components. Each individual component was manually listed in a precise sequence from A to L and registered for processing. In total, the project required 20 tonnes of material, with a thickness of between 19 and 22 mm. The result was a truly mammoth task that required an extremely flexible joining system.
When it first took part in the tender for the construction of the acoustic walls, Lamello system solutions weren't yet part of Käslin's plan. "One of our team members worked hard for a month and a half to find the ideal joining solution – that was a single test period," Lukas Käslin explains. "After a number of trials, in the end it was the connecting fittings from Lamello, and the P-System with Clamex P-14 in particular, that enabled us to rise to the complex joining challenges that this project presented to us." Why was this? "It was primarily the system's simplicity, stability and quality," Lukas Käslin explains. The P-System is based on a groove with an undercut, into which connecting fittings with various functions can be inserted, ensuring form-locking anchorage. During processing, the cutter moves downwards and sideways to the maximum depth in order to create this profile groove. Implementation of the P-System groove is also made possible thanks to CNC technology. The components are prepared using CAD software from Vectorworks, and milled on the 5-axis CNC machine from Morbidelli. All CNC programming and setting adjustments were internally implemented.
Once the component has been processed, the Clamex P-14 connector is inserted into the P-System groove manually. This connector enables an incredibly versatile connection for all angles and connection types. Its minimal fitting depth enables mitre fittings at an angle ranging from 22.5 – 180° to be achieved. An additional advantage is its swivel lever, which makes the fitting easily detachable. A total of approximately 9,000 Clamex P-14 connections were used for this project. Furthermore, in order to prevent the individual components from shifting, an additional transverse groove was made in each component which enabled the E20 self-clamping biscuit to be tapped in. Its serrated surface provides anchorage while simultaneously tightening the component under preparation. The result is a connection that demonstrates first-class stability and precision.
Everybody on the company's team spent weeks working alternating dawn shifts to complete and install the parts. It was doubtless thanks to this team spirit and commitment on the part of every employee, combined with Käslin's expertise, that the company succeeded in completing this gem in good time to stun the teachers and students of Steinhausen School of Music in the new year.
The completed walls also illustrate the broad palette of solutions that can be achieved using Lamello products – for all connection types and at every angle. And the P-System and its associated connecting fittings will continue to surprise with their countless possible applications in the future. "How did we ever manage before the P-System came along?" Lukas Käslin grins. "Nowadays, the system is a completely indispensable part of what we do!
The construction of the acoustic wall at Steinhausen School of Music is the result of collaboration between a number of skilled participants. These include geometric engineer Urs B. Roth from the Atelier für konkrete Kunst, architectural firm MMJS Jauch-Stolz Architekten AG, construction management firm Widmer Partners, and joinery company Käslin.