The Lérez-based company hit 60 this year, funding 12 million euro in new technologies
LA VOZ/ Mercados
The Pontevedresa Group was founded in 1958 by Francisco Barbeito Castro, who could not have imagined that six decades on his company would be the first manufacturer in northern Spain to produce tempered safety glass. And surely he could not have envisaged at the end of the last century that avant-garde materials manufactured exclusively by his company would become the second skin of modern architectural icons in 2018.
These materials are smart vitreous surfaces or SVS, such as CeptualRockSkin that today graces the entire translucent exterior of the French Musée d’Art de Nantes—a single-surface façade combining real stone and structural glass. Natural light pierces the stone façade of one of France’s most important symbols of contemporary art in this city which is also the cradle of the European glass industry. One way or another things have come full circle 60 years on.
Yet these materials can be found in the everyday lives of many people. The CeptualLife brand includes outstanding new anti-bacterial materials for countertops used in hundreds of leading fashion chain stores, businesses and hotels the world over, from Hotel Sofía Barcelona to New York’s Fifth Avenue. “Ecological and 100% recyclable is the result of applying an anti-bacterial surface nucleation process and tempered TGP, consisting in adding F2 diatomic molecules to a vitreous surface without altering its natural essence” is the technical explanation.
The outcome is a scratch-resistant water-repellent surface with no leakage to which containers of rising temperatures—up to 200 degrees centigrade—no longer pose a threat of critical breakage and whose mechanical resistance to bending is four times that of the majority of synthetic composites of artificial stone and quartz on the market.
“Maybe all this was very difficult to imagine 60 years ago”, acknowledges Francisco Barbeito, founder of the Pontevedresa Group. In any case, he points out, everything is a consequence of his initial undertaking, the core idea being that “talent would become symbolic of remaining in the team and a guarantee of cutting-edge technology in the world of materials from the start”.
Today, Barbeito’s son manages the firm of 74 employees, including some of the most experienced experts in the national glass market. They continue to experiment with natural materials, aesthetic honesty and high-performance mechanical and technological features, producing over 108 new SVS products each year at the Ceptual Glass Experimentation Centre. Future product launches include new glass derivatives with semi-conductor features and even the application of carbon fibre to vitreous surfaces.
The company is firmly convinced that investment is vital if these innovation objectives are to be met. Accordingly, twelve million euro has been poured into new technologies for SVS processing.
This decisive approach has enabled the Pontevedresa Group to place their new materials worldwide in the most demanding professional sectors with the help and drive of the Galician retail and contract sectors. All this while keeping an eye on the home market, where the firm continues to innovate by promoting their new Ceptual vitreous materials “at a time when honest natural products are gaining ground on all things synthetic and artificial in our homes”.
Every year, Pontevedresa Group produces over a hundred versions of SVS materials.