Natural principles

Natural principles

Sustainability is a natural core principle

You may wonder why our adaptive moulds do not look like any other colourful machine. There is a reason behind, and it is a core principle in sustainability and reusability.

The way we design solutions, manufacture machinery and service our customers are based on the principles that we:

  • innovate to make the manufacture of complex curved surfaces sustainable
  • plan to secure transport and production methods with the lowest environmental impact
  • choose the materials and parts that are easiest to reuse or recycle
  • guarantee the option to return machinery, parts and materials to our production in Aalborg

These principles influence the way we think and act and can as an example be recognized in the fact that, we use materials like aluminum because it is durable and easy for us to reuse and do not paint our machinery because it is easier to recycle materials without paint.

Read more about our sustainability and carbon impact approach.


New Service: Rent a mould

New Service: Rent a mould

Introducing rental moulds

To support the introduction of curved designs, we now introduce rental adaptive moulds. This allows you to – reduce cost, meet special requests, increase capacity temporarily and meet your delivery deadlines.

Machinery lease allow our customers the benefit of high capacity low-cost manufacture even on projects where the m2 volume of uniquely curved panels and facades are at the lower end. It also opens the possibility for renting a mould to start up production earlier.

Even though automation is a good way of up-scaling production to a higher volume, the investment may not be financed by a single project or a small project pipeline. By renting an adaptive mould it is now possible to gain the benefit of our adaptive moulds, before buying a mould.

Many projects start up by the manufacture of mock-ups and alike, sometimes months in advance of the real manufacture. With our rental model, our customers may be able to manufacture the initial small delivery for the final approval of material, surface, quality and so on, and then do the final specification of the adaptive mould they buy.

Contact us to get further information

Dangerous EPS: How Polystyrene is Destroying Our Planet

Dangerous EPS: How Polystyrene is Destroying Our Planet

Polystyrene is ubiquitous; it has been for a while now. You can find it in everything from the housing of hair dryers, televisions, coffee machines and food processors to disposable paper cups and food containers. You may also have heard the term ‘Styrofoam’ being used for those flimsy white cups, plates, and boxes, which is nothing but expanded polystyrene (EPS). Think of how corn kernels pop to make popcorn, that is sort of how styrofoam is made. It is 95% air and 5% polystyrene. But did you know that polystyrene is a toxic material that is extremely detrimental to the environment in large volumes? You would think that basic rational would dictate that we would tend to use less of something as dangerous as this, but sadly, that is not the case.

Styrofoam take-away containers are popular because it’s lightweight and it is cheap. In addition to that, it also insulates the food so that it remains hot or cold. But it is also harmful in so many ways. It leaches into the food or drink that its is holding, albeit in minute quantities. The emissions from the styrofoam manufacturing factories pose a grave threat to people living in nearby communities. The workers who work in these factories are also at great risk of being exposed to highly toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Add to that, styrofoam or polystyrene is not biodegradable, and it could take more than a million years to decompose. Only a very miniscule amount of the world’s polystyrene waste gets recycled, the rest is sent to landfills and wastelands. Some of this waste finds its way into water bodies, and because of its buoyant properties, it either floats on top of the water or sinks to the bottom of the waterbed. This is then ingested by aquatic animals which either choke on it and die instantly, or it leaves them seriously injured.

Polystyrene or EPS is popular in the construction sector as well. It is used to make polystyrene blocks for concrete casting, owing to its light weight and insulative characteristics. It is widely used for insulation in buildings since it mostly comprises of air, which is a bad conductor of heat. Polystyrene is also used to make form work or moulds for casting various materials. But have you thought of what happens to these EPS moulds once they serve their purpose?

The picture that you see on the right was taken at a client’s warehouse. This was before they bought our moulds and had to rely on traditional moulding methods. When they were using polystyrene moulds, they would have to break it down into smaller pieces before disposing them. This would happen each time they had to create a new mould, and for large projects that would run into hundreds. In fact, the project that they are working on currently would have required them to make 230 different EPS moulds at a cost of US$ 5.5 million. Not only did this client pay a fraction of that cost to acquire our moulds, but they also significantly cut their carbon footprint. Click here to read more about how Adapa is helping our customers all over the world, reduce their carbon emission levels.

The bottom-line is that polystyrene is harmful for us and it needs to go. Hundreds of cities around the world have already placed a ban on EPS, and the latest to join the bandwagon is New York city. Businesses too are taking the pledge to do away with single-use plastic. All of this is going to help cut our carbon emissions, and every small bit helps. How about you – are you doing your part to save our environment?

Evolution of Curved Architecture Through History

Evolution of Curved Architecture Through History

Curved forms are fluidic, and they are influenced by nature, which allow them to blend into the surrounding landscape. Some of the most striking designs from contemporary architecture includes free-form, because there exists a plethora of technologies today that can bring 3D drawings to life. But even before we had stuff like computer-aided design and CNC manufacturing, curved form could be found sporadically spread throughout architectural history. Right from the primitive ages to the beginning of the information age, indigenous tribes and cultures have relied on curved architecture, because of the strength and flexibility that it offered. The vital role that curves played in architecture is also evidenced by its widespread use in several Roman structures.

Domes and Roman Innovation

Early examples of the influence of curved form in Roman architecture, includes structures of historical importance like the Marcello Theater built in 13 BC, the Pantheon from 126 AD, and the Colosseum which opened in 80 AD. The biggest achievement for the renaissance builders was the introduction of domes, and the first major documented implementation was the dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi for the Florence Cathedral. He devised a plan using mathematics and physics, to construct the dome with four million bricks leveraging a double-layer system, and with no scaffolding. Since then, domes of various types became commonplace in buildings of religious and institutional significance, across the world.

German-led Expressionist Architecture

However, it wasn’t until the industrial revolution that curved structures became more prominent in the architectural landscape. This was largely thanks to the advent of several lighter materials with higher tensile strength, and the technical advances made in the space of tools and machinery. But the buildings were still vertical columns, with domes and catenary arches. It was not before the dawn of the 20th century that expressionist architecture came to the fore. It was also a time marred by war and dictatorship, and imaginations were stifled. But that did not stop Erich Mendelsohn from envisioning a building that was inspired by nature – the Einstein tower. The building marked the beginning of a modernist era led by Germany, which was inspired by biomorphic forms.

20th Century Modernism and Deconstructivism

The 1950s saw the emergence of two landmarks of curved architecture, in the form of the Guggenheim Museum and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Since the 1960s, a lot of architects have dared to experiment with curves. Renowned architects like Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, I. M. Pei, Oscar Niemeyer and the likes, have played a significant part in promoting the freeform and deconstructivism movements. They paved the way for structural expressionism in the field of architecture, which provided a much-needed relief from the monotony of rectilinear shapes that filled up our urban spaces.

Looking to the Future

Contemporary architecture has transcended the archaic concepts of ornamentalism and has embraced minimalism, which gives modern structures a sleek and futuristic appearance. This is largely thanks to the integration of innovative and cutting-edge production methods, with modern design ideologies. However, it is a very small group of architects who have fully embraced freeform and managed to produce striking structures that are quintessential of the modern architectural movement. There is also a rising demand for sustainable architecture and building practices, which certainly augurs well for the future of architecture.

American architect Louis Sullivan rightly coined the phrase ‘Form follows function’ during the early parts of the 20th century. There has probably never been a truer statement about the core principles of architecture. And while the jury is still out on the linear versus curved debate, there is no refuting the utilitarian and aesthetic values of freeform architecture. It will be exciting to see what direction architecture takes as the 21st century progresses. But one thing we know for sure is that irrespective of the architectural movement of the day, naturally forming shapes will have a significant role to play in the future of architecture.

Realization of Freeform Designs Using Modern Day Tooling

Realization of Freeform Designs Using Modern Day Tooling

There are various studies that associate human emotions with shapes, and most of them seem to indicate that curved shapes are more appealing than linear ones. If we were to interpret that in terms of architectural designs, it would mean that people are more drawn to contemporary, freeforming structures than traditional, rectilinear buildings. What makes these modern-day buildings stand out is that they are not just functional, but they are also works of art. So, what has changed between now and then?
Breaking Away

Earlier, architects were constrained by the inability to produce curved surfaces, which reflected in their low-complexity, symmetric designs. But somewhere in the last two decades, this changed. It finally seems like we have been liberated from one-dimensional designs. There are various factors that influenced this change, but the primary aspect has been the introduction of technologies that allow the formation of curved shapes. With the advent of machines that allowed curved panels to be produced, more architects began introducing free-form into their designs. But the challenge does not end there. While single-curved surfaces are easy to produce, it is a different ball-game when it comes to double-curved surfaces. Not only do double-curves pose structural challenges, they are also extremely expensive to make. Curving techniques like CNC milling help produce the desired curvature, but they are neither operationally efficient, nor are they cost-effective.

 Left: Villa La Rotonda in Vicenza (photo by Stefan Bauer)
Right: The Jubilee Church in Rome (photo by Scott Frances)

Transformation in Curved Production

Innovations like 3D printing, knitted formwork, multipoint stretch forming and reconfigurable moulds on the other hand, have helped alleviate these concerns to a large extent. But none manage to offer the unique combination of high-velocity and zero-wastage production, like the Adaptive MouldTM does. These moulds in fact do away with the need for having moulds at all, and have been designed to work in a lean manufacturing environment. These machines are capable of producing double-curved panels, in a wide-range of material categories. They are made-to-order, depending on the size of the panels, which in-turn is decided by where the panels are going to be used.

More and more architects are beginning to take cue from nature to design buildings that take on freeforming shapes. Architectural marvels like the ones designed by Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, I.M. Pei, and the likes, would not have become a reality, had they not dared to think beyond linear shapes. Technologies like the Adaptive Mould can help architects manufacture non-repetitive freeform panels, without the need for formwork or worrying about escalating costs.

Inspired by Heritage and Nature

There are several examples from vernacular architecture, where historically, curved shapes were used to achieve a functional need and offer aesthetic value at the same time. The designs of these structures were influenced by various factors such as local climate, culture and availability of raw materials. Today, architects are trying to revive the use of curved shapes in mainstream architecture. However, this trend is born out of the desire to give the world more structures that are inspired by naturally forming shapes and has less to do from a functional standpoint. These are certainly exciting times for the architectural world, and for us – we are excited to see what new iconic structures emerge using the adaptive mould technology.

Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center
Pictures Courtesy: Iwan Baan

Few Examples of Nature Inspired Buildings:

Customer Spotlight Series: Curve Works

Customer Spotlight Series: Curve Works

From high performance yachts to water taxis, Curve Works has her sights firmly on transforming the marine industry by offering composite solutions, making use of new production technologies. They leverage the Adaptive Mould, together with their specially designed infrastructure, to produce single and double-curved composite panels. They have also pioneered the use of 3D thermoformed core kits for the boat building industry, which replaces traditional core-laying methods.

Curve Works is both, a client and a partner to Adapa. Our association with them has been an insightful and productive experience for both our organizations. We posed some questions to François Geuskens, the Director of Curve Works, and following is what he had to say:


  • In what ways has Curve Works enhanced its capability to deliver composite solutions for the marine industry, over the past year?

    Curve Works makes 3D products in a way that no-one else can. Curve Works’ vision is ‘no-waste from tooling’ and we are particularly focused on products for which reusable tooling offers substantial commercial advantages. Examples of this are our 3D Core Kits, 3D Windscreens and our future composite panel assemblies.


  • How has the combination of Adapa’s Adaptive Mould and Curve Works’ composites competencies, made it possible for you to deliver innovative and robust solutions for the marine industry?

    The adaptive mould is a great piece of kit that is easily and quickly configured into new geometries. Furthermore, the Adaptive Mould allows us to reinvent processes since it offers the ability ‘to shape the panel’ which conventional tooling does not. This coupled with our expertise in composites, offers new possibilities to clients, in combination with the high-quality knowledge present at Curve Works.


  • Could you share the names of a few projects that you have been associated with in this space?

    : We are really proud of some of the projects we have been involved with recently. This includes making the windscreens of the experimental Seabubbles water taxi, the 3D foam core kits which we supplied to help build the award-winning Rán Fast 40, and assisted the production strategy of the Concept AIA – a wood-composite façade panel.
  • Do you think that the marine industry is ready for composite boats, even if its production is made more affordable and quicker?

    : Composites are actually broadly used in the marine industry but the highest volume is used in lower-tech high-volume pleasure craft. With our new production technology, which involves the Adaptive Mould, there is a great business case for composites applied to high-tech large custom built vessels. We are tackling the lead time and cost of these structures associated with large composite structures – after the technology has been implemented in the private yacht market, if production is more affordable and quicker, there is no reason why the rest of the marine industry should not follow.


  • How do you see the future of the composite boat industry progressing, and what role do you envision Curve Works playing in that growth?

    Curve Works’ innovations will disrupt the yacht building industry. You can watch the video below, to understand how we intend to do that.

How do I see the future? I think composites will replace metals more and more in merchant ships, pleasure crafts and naval vessels. Curve Works contribution in this will make a lot of impact and create another step-change in this transition. 

  • What are your plans for 2019?

    : We plan on expanding the 3D core kitting business this year. We are also going to be executing our first architectural project. In the background we will be making a significant step towards composite panel assemblies for yacht hulls. For sure, 2019 is going to be an exciting year for us!

Adapa shares Curve Works’ vision to deliver innovative composite solutions for the marine industry and we are proud to be associated with them. We are certain that this relationship will scale new heights in 2019.

Inside Adapa: Please Meet Šimon

Inside Adapa: Please Meet Šimon

In Kuwait, our service engineers are doing a great job installing Adapa’s Adaptive Moulds which are to be used for the new passenger terminal. We thought it would be interesting if you heard a first-hand account from one of our engineers about the work they do onsite.

Šimon, along with Ibrahim and Dragan, is responsible for assembling Adapa’s Adaptive Moulds, and for providing all maintenance related support to Limak’s crew.

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Adapa Joins the Terminal Expansion Project of the Kuwait Airport

Adapa Joins the Terminal Expansion Project of the Kuwait Airport

Adapa was awarded a contract in June 2017, to supply 85 Adaptive Moulds for the construction of the new passenger terminal at the Kuwait International Airport (KWI). We were handpicked by the Turkish construction company Limak İnşaat, who won the tender to build the new terminal. In addition to supplying the adaptive moulds, we are also tasked with the ongoing maintenance of the moulds and the training of Limak’s engineers on how to use the moulds. More details to follow soon.


Adapa’s Adaptive Moulds will be used for fabricating the 40.000 interior wall and ceiling panels.
Image credits: Fosters and Partners.

 While Adapa’s team is working hard to assemble and install the Adaptive Moulds, the bearing constructions are being erected onsite by the Limak crew.

While Adapa’s team is working hard to assemble and install the Adaptive Moulds, the
bearing constructions are being erected onsite by the Limak crew.


The new terminal project at KWI has created thousands of job opportunities in Kuwait. A source within Limak tells us that there are roughly over 10,000 people working around the clock to ensure that the new terminal is open for business by late 2021. 

By the time of the launch of the new terminal, Adapa will have helped produce 40,000 concrete panels.

Custom concrete facade elements for the North Souk

Custom concrete facade elements for the North Souk

Developed by Solidere and designed by Zaha Hadid Architects as a multi use building providing both retail and residential area. The outer form flexes in both dimensions; creating a double curved surface in an otherwise rigidly cubistic cityscape.

Adapa have delivered the first Adaptive Mould to the project where it has participated in construction the panels for the first part of the building in 2016.



The project site consists of a combination of two plots both situated over an existing three-storey underground car park built circa 2000 as part of the general masterplan. Both plots contain pre-designed but unrealised schemes.

AKT and Zaha Hadid Architects have developed the design of a mixed-use single building providing retail and residential use on the existing basement substructure. The project consists of a new five-storey development of 26,370 m² usable area (32,390 m² gross) and uses the existing internal grid to minimise the amount of remedial work required to the existing basement but remodels the internal cores and flexes the perimeter form to create a new and exciting project in this traditional part of the city.


Project specifications

  • Area: 26,370 m²
  • Costs: US $ 40 million
  • Location: Beirut, Libanon

Project partners

  • Client: Solidere
  • Facade Contractor: Alumco Metals
  • Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
  • Engineer: AKT