As black as ebony, as solid as concrete 

A drive through Finland’s endless forests is definitely good for a surprise. The northernmost whiskey and gin distillery in Europe can be found here. It is barely recognizable from the outside, all you can see is a big old woodshed, but it packs a punch. As what looks like decades-old, charred wood is in reality a design masterpiece of the 21st century. Raven black reinforced concrete, colored with Bayferrox pigments from LANXESS.

Inside the Kyrö Distillery Company building the finest gin and whiskey matures in large wooden barrels. An important part of the production process, as the unmistakable taste that is in great demand from customers all over the world can only develop in this way. It all started with a crazy idea: five Finnish friends founded a liquor factory on a sauna raft. The Kyrö Distillery Company launched its business in the old Valio dairy in 2014.

The distillery soon won international awards and the demand increased alongside its fame. The Finnish company quickly reached the limits of its capacity and decided to expand production on the old dairy site.

As part of an architectural competition, the idea was born to build the new halls in such a way that they visually resemble traditional wooden barns. However, building the planned five warehouses in timber construction was out of the question because the technical requirements are very high: Whiskey is a combustible liquid. So the warehouse had to be divided into five sections, each with a precisely controlled room climate. The individual areas have a suitably regulated temperature and humidity. The amount of alcohol evaporating in the air is closely monitored to prevent an explosion. Concrete would be a suitable material, but does not fit into the landscape at all. What was to be done? 

Destillery in Finland made with colored concrete with bayferrox pigments

The art of pigmentation

Helsinki-based Avanto Architects came up with a unique design that elegantly solved this problem: a solid warehouse made of reinforced concrete with a rustic wooden plank look. The unusual facade was created with the support of LANXESS technicians, because we are also a proven specialist in the coloration of concrete. Concrete can be completely colored right through using Bayferrox iron oxide pigments, eliminating the need for any additional painting.

Our experts also develop customized solutions: For whether the concrete has the desired color in its finished state depends on many factors, such as the quality and mixing ratio of the pigments, but also on the concrete mix itself. A great deal of experience and close cooperation with the concrete suppliers is necessary here. More than 100 different color gradations are possible. The color spectrum ranges from yellow to red, green, brown and black. As a result of its durability and resistance, the color of the colored concrete does not fade over time.  

However, concrete in raven black, as the design for the Finnish hall envisages, is very unusual. The ultimate challenge. Bayferrox 360, a durable and deep black iron pigment, was used in Finland. 
According to the original plan, the concrete elements were to be produced with colored concrete and then painted darker at the construction site.
Bayferrox black iron oxide pigmentLANXESS

After several trial castings, the deep black Bayferrox 360 LANXESS pigment was used at a dosage level of 5% pigment, without the need for expensive additional painting. The interesting wood look was created by an elaborate concrete casting process in which old boards were removed from a dismantled barn and served as a template profile for the concrete blocks. Resulting in a deceptively real looking, ultra modern “wooden hut” in the Finnish forests. A design masterpiece. The jury of the Finnish Concrete Architecture Prize thought so too and awarded the architects for this innovative design at the end of 2019.

The complete case study is also available as pdf-file for download.

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