A cocktail bar in Ponta Delgada, the bustling capital of the Azores archipelago in Portugal, had a major fire incident that destroyed most of the fixtures and fittings, and caused considerable damage. However, the bar’s steel structure remained intact thanks to the intumescent coatings that the owner had invested in during the design of the building.

A trendy nightspot in the centre of Ponta Delgada, Raiz cocktail bar is a busy venue, popular with locals and tourists alike. The bar has a modern, industrial design, featuring exposed steel beams and glass walls with steel staircases connecting the two floors. It was important to Gabriel, the owner that the steelwork, as a main feature of the building design, was not only protected against corrosion and fire, but also looked good to enhance the ambience of the bar.

The fire, which began one night soon after closing, raged through the bar for about three hours before it was brought under control and finally extinguished by the fire crews. Initially, the cause was attributed to an electrical short-circuit, but it is now being investigated as a deliberate, criminal act. Since the fire happened when the bar was closed, there were no casualties or injuries.

As the damage was assessed, it became apparent that the steel structure had remained intact. Gabriel’s choice of intumescent coatings by Hempel not only protected the steel against the heat and flames, but also allowed additional time for the Fire Department to bring the fire under control.

“Without the protection of the intumescent coating, the Fire Department believes that the glass structure would have collapsed. Thanks to this added protection the structure is in place and we can rebuild as good as new,” Gabriel said.

People often think that a fire is something that will never happen to them, but it can, and as with the Raiz Bar, protection using Hempel’s intumescent coatings can save your structure, preventing a costly rebuild. Hempel’s intumescent coatings not only ensure a durable, good looking finish, but also provide the assurance that if the worst should ever happen, your assets are afforded greater protection.

With the Raiz Bar, Gabriel has been advised that once the steel has been abrasively blasted, it will be ‘as new’ and ready to take a new coating system that includes Hempel’s intumescent coatings to assure protection against cellulosic fire.

About Hempel’s intumescent coatings

Hempel’s intumescent range offers passive fire protection that lengthens the time a steel structure will remain intact during a fire. The coatings provide longer evacuation times and allow emergency personnel more time to respond. That means that these advanced coating solutions not only protect investments but can potentially save lives.

How do they work?

By expanding 40-60 times greater than the original DFT during a fire, Hempel’s intumescent coatings allow the steel to stay cooler than the surrounding fire and prevent it from reaching a temperature that would compromise its strength and integrity, causing it to twist, bend or break.

Project details for Raiz Bar, Ponta Delgada


For the structure: R60 - 500°C

For the staircase: R30 - 500°C

Environment: C3

Products used: Hempacore One FD