The bathhouse ‘Babylon Cologne‘, a popular spa-oasis only for gentlemen, is directly next to the Friesenplatz in Cologne – and in this segment has been one of the finest places in the dome city for over 30 years. On more than 1,400 square metres there is a generous offer of the most diverse saunas, a fireplace and bar area, as well as a pool in the courtyard to cool down in. The lounging area next to the pool made of Bangkirai wood had become quite ugly as time went by, and so the owner decided to exchange the patio surface for an optically attractive and durable alternative. He chose a wood composite material. He had ‘Exclusive’ in basalt grey from the Bavarian producer NATURinFORM laid on a total surface of 60 square metres. Thereby creating a mediterranean hideaway, right in the centre of Cologne’s old town.
Bathhouse Babylon Cologne
Exclusive in basalt grey
Type of construction
In the centre of Cologne, the ‘Babylon Cologne’ with its attractive spa offers for gentlemen leaves nothing to be desired and offers its guests an outdoor pool, a Finnish sauna, a steam bath, and a whirlpool. A generously set out bar with an open fire invites one to stay a while – with a wide range of refreshments, a select collection of wines, cocktails and coffee specialties. There is direct access to the courtyard patio from the bar where the guests can cool down in the ten-metre-long pool, or be spoilt by the sun on the patio. Between May and September, the outdoor pool area becomes the ‘Babylon Island’. Then it’s time to chillax with cool cocktails and a barbecue.
Owner counts on a wood expert’s expertise
For 35 years, the ‘Babylon‘ has been located at this address and there are also flats in the extensive building besides the sauna club. The specialty in this central building complex is an atrium courtyard with an ideal, wind-protected environment for the pool. But permanent intensive use for many years, and the constant impact of water had left their traces on the pool patio. ‘The wooden decks of Bangkirai were quite worn, partially splintered, and no longer fulfilled our quality and aesthetic expectations,’ says Stephan Collet, responsible for marketing in the ‘Babylon’. ‘Therefore, we decided to put in a new, robust and durable surface‘ As he had been a long-time acquaintance of Manfred Geldmacher’s, owner of the specialised trade company ‘Baukulit’ from Hattingen with a focus, among others, on outdoor design, he relied on his expertise – thus the choice was made for the product from NATURinFORM’s portfolio.
Durability and slip-resistance are decisive
’Especially the durability and sturdiness, particularly with constant exposure to water, and not last its slip-resistance, were top of the list of requirements when making the decision,’ says Collet. Manfred Geldmacher has often worked together with the wood composite specialist from Franconian Redwitz a. d. Rodach throughout his long work experience and awards NATURinFORM’s products the highest marks. ‘In the field of wood composite materials, this supplier is definitely one of the best,’ swears Geldmacher when talking about the quality of the products. ‘What made more sense than to recommend NATURinFORM when ‘Babylon’s owner asked me for my professional opinion?’
On a total of 60 square metres, Marcel Hartung’s gardenscaping team from Essen laid the patio decks ‘Exclusive’ in the colour basalt grey. A total of 60 decks, 6 metres each, were used, and 80 running metres of WPC base profile, 4 m each, as well as 320 adjustable swivel feet ‘large’; additionally, the Hartung team used stainless steel mounting brackets, as well as 40 packages of rubber pads. The bracketing cannot be seen after installation, therey creating an even, homogenous surface.
Small joint combined with an elegant stone look
‘Pure elegance, sophisticated grey, with a slim joint’ – this is the ‘exclusive’ deck’s effect in a nutshell. With three shades of grey – dolomite grey, cool basalt grey, as well as warm lava grey – and a surface grain in an elegant stone look, this patio deck is suitable for laying in the most diverse environments. The especially slim joint of only 5 mm – instead of the otherwise standard 7.5 mm – gives the deck surface an elegant look. ‘Exclusive’ with a width of 162 mm and a thickness of 21 mm, is laid on one side. The matte surface, which is only stamped on one side, creates an especially even and elegant overall look for an exclusive favourite spot. ‘Exclusive’ is delivered in standard lengths of three, four, five and six metres; special lengths of two to up to 13 metres are available on request at extra cost.
Project-related production: save time and money
To lay one square metre (weight ca. 3.8 kg/m2) the processer requires ca. six decks, one metre each, depending on the situation on site, ca. 2.5-3 m base profile, as well as ca. 14 stainless steel brackets with screws. When laying ‘Exclusive’ it is not possible to install it with a joint profile tube, but instead the appropriate laying aid has to be used. NATURinFORM produces the decks for each project in the suitable length. This saves the customer money, as the processor does not need to cut the length requirements from standard lengths. The advantages: far less waste and rapid laying. With the decks, the producer delivers an accessory package especially for the building site. On request, the required amount can also be compiled from standard lengths, complete with accessories. More and more customers and processors are using the complete set on offer by NATURinFORM: As the wood composite specialist offers the different options of laying, maintenance and lighting, depending on the application. Diverse subconstructions, attachments, surfaces for height adjustment, decorative connections and borders, as well as ventilation options thereby offer a large freedom of design.
The best of wood and watertight materials
Direct proximity to water is a real challenge for wood. If wood is exposed to humidity outdoors over the course of many years, it soaks up spray water and swells. Tears develop and microorganisms can take root, creating an even larger entry point for water. ‘Exclusive’ replaced the original wooden surface on 60 square metres in the saunaclub in Cologne. Wood composite materials are extremely weather-resistant and very robust, also durable and especially suitable for areas exposed to water outdoors, as they are slip-resistant and do not splinter. The guests to ‘Babylon Cologne’ can now benefit from this, too. ‘The new patio is very popular with our guests. Especially the three jetties you can easily let your feet dangle in the water from are used a lot and frequently,’ says Stephan Collet. ‘The decks were laid in November 2018, and up to today the decks show hardly any wear or tear at all.’
High slip-resistance level R12 according to DIN 51130
NATURinFORM is specialised in the production of wood composite materials: these combine the optical characteristics of wood with the weather-resistance of watertight materials. During the production process, natural wooden fibres are combined with a polymer. These components coat every single fibre, so that no water can penetrate the finished deck. Due to its special technical features, the wood composite material is resistant to humidity. The material does not splinter, not even after years directly next to water. And because water just drips of the surface, it has an especially high TÜV certified safety for walking on: In a test by TÜV Rheinland in 2011, the decks achieved the highest slip-resistance level R12, according to DIN 51130.