Awards 2016

Out of Africa: Friul Filiere’s pre-fab HOME, inspired with a wider purpose


Luna Artico’s family had been manufacturing machinery and turnkey plants producing profiles and pipes in all thermoplastic materials for four decades when she decided to take her first working trip to Africa. It was a fact-finding mission that became a game-changer for her and for Friul Filiere.

My first aim was to better understand the market, the people, the opportunities,” says Artico, now general manager of Italy-based Friul Filiere. “During that trip I fell in love with the land, the nature and the people.”

Once back home, Artico told her father: “You invented many great solutions for the plastic world. I think you should invent a brand-new prefab house. Many people around the world are waiting for it. He sent me back to my desk saying I was too ambitious.” But a few months later, he told me he had a new concept for prefab housing.

The result: HOME – a patented building system based on modular PVC wall panels. It’s composed of two profiles joined by a plastic connection made to slide easily. The internal panel is made of Foam Fibre Composite (FFC) – a mixture of thermoplastic and natural fibres like jute, hemp, sugar cane and rice husks.

The external panel is PVC with a special UV-resistant layer added on the surface, with additives to make it resistant to chemicals, weather and abrasion for longer life.

Two people can build a 54-square-metre HOME without heavy machinery in less than a week. ‘’Our aim is to create houses without any impact on the environment and living in harmony with it,’’ Artico says. That includes solar panels to power them.

HOME is a local empowerment concept, with turnkey plants. “Our mission is not just to sell houses but also to transfer technology and know-how to developing markets in order to enable investors and communities producing the full range of housing components locally,” she explains.

HOME can also serve as emergency shelters, offices, schools, hospitals and construction camps. “E una bella storia, vero?” Artico says. Hard to argue with that.