As a hygiene barrier to protect against droplet infections, the Federal Palace relies on virus protection screens. The transparent partition panes are used in meeting rooms as well as in the National Council and Council of States halls. The screens are part of a holistic protection concept developed by GWJ Architektur. They were designed and manufactured by Westiform.
The family-owned company, based in Niederwangen near Bern, is usually active as a provider of illuminated advertising and digital signage solutions, and had already converted part of its production at the start of the pandemic. In addition to virus protection screens, disinfection steles with or without integrated digital signage screens from Westiform are also in use throughout Switzerland. The Inselspital, for example, relies on a version with a mask dispenser, the SBB has some in use at its headquarters, but also the University of Bern, UBS, AMAG or luxury brands such as Cartier rely on the prevention means of the Bernese SME.
For the acrylic glass panes, which will be used in time for the autumn session in the Federal Parliament, very special requirements applied. Some of the panes are mounted on historical furniture that must not be scratched or damaged. A stable fastening of the panes was particularly difficult under these conditions, as the company writes in a press release. Westiform has developed individual designs for this. In the Commission Room, the feet of the acrylic glass panes are placed in the recess of the table and connected by means of a sophisticated suspension technique. In the National Council and Council of States rooms, the panes are attached with edge protection material in order to protect the furniture. Here, the panes can also be folded out to ensure sufficient large protection even in confined spaces.
Home-made solutions often provide inadequate protection
"It is crucial to adapt the size of the pane to the application site" says Simone Bächle, Managing Director of Westiform. "Currently, you still see a lot of temporary, partly self-made solutions. Particularly in checkout situations, the panes are often far too deep, so that the customer's head protrudes over the spit shield and the effect is thus lost. In some places it looks like a building site in the shops," continues Bächle. "People have been quick to look for pragmatic solutions and have sometimes resorted to building site tape to cordon off the area. All in the assumption that it was a temporary situation. Now, however, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the safety regulations will not disappear abruptly. Long-term use makes it necessary to switch to stable permanent elements."