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These Three Trends in Metal Fabric Application Are Changing Commercial Design

When you think of the word “metal,” words like strong, industrial, or long-lasting come to mind. When you think of the word “fabric,” one might imagine texture, patterns and flexibility. But what comes to mind when the two meet? At GKD, when we think “metal fabric” we envision extraordinary design, nearly limitless applications and ever-evolving innovation. While metal fabric can be used in a variety of applications (from safety and security, to column covers to walls), we’ve profiled the top three ways architects and designers are incorporating the versatile material into building design.




GKD’s texturized ceiling systems are a unique alternative to the industry norm. Available in more than 30 unique weaves, they can be customized to fit any shaped room. Whether square, oval or an irregular form, the power of GKD metal fabrics extends beyond sheer aesthetics. GKD ceiling systems offer unparalleled overhead functionality and effectively hide wiring, plumbing, ductwork, mechanicals and support structures in style and elegance. At the same time, they offer a fireproof, extremely durable solution that allows for the free flow of air. Thanks to a variety of facility-wide design solutions, it’s easy to match GKD ceiling systems with other architectural metal mesh elements. In the Gross-Umstadt Town Hall project, architects Pahl + Weber-Pahl worked with the GKD team to create a draped ceiling along with a wall and curtain – all made of Sambesi metal fabric. When suspended from the ceiling, the panels conceal mechanical systems and lighting. Plus, the textural fabric and undulating pattern help create an attractive and dynamic finish to a large and otherwise rigid space.

Etched Graphics

Similar to ceiling systems, etched metal panels from GKD combine form and function to provide architects, designers and facility managers with a unique and artistic solution to traditional building façades, curtains and other applications. The GKD etching process creates visual imagery that is nothing short of astounding – not to mention extremely durable, weather- and fade-resistant. When used as an exterior or interior façade, transparency is also achieved, allowing visibility and measured lighting. GKD recently installed an elaborate etched façade with stainless steel Omega panels. Located in Pasadena, TX, the new Houston Area Safety Council (HASC) represents a two-year campus initiative to expand safety training capabilities for the greater Houston Metroplex. Our team is able to provide depth, perspective and detail in the project, something that other manufacturers struggle with when etching two-tone metal fabrics.

GKD ceiling systems can also be purely sculptural in nature. Architects JOI-Design worked with us to create two, 3200 ft2 canopies to adorn the reception area of the Hilton Hotel at Frankfurt Airport. Located in a seven-story atrium, the two golden wings soar into the air. The free-floating wings give the light-flooded room a clear division and distinct appearance using GKD’s Mandarin design. The finely woven bronze-fabric enabled designers to underscore the noble impression of the interior and used targeted light effects to enhance its appearance.

Solar Management

Beyond ceiling systems and etched façades, solar management is a recent trend that is driving growth at GKD. Solar management isn’t just a boon to facility managers and building owners who face increasing energy costs, it also aids occupant comfort while reducing a building’s overall burden on the environment. GKD metal fabrics play key roles in achieving proper sunshading and daylighting goals by saving energy and reducing interior lighting and interior cooling needs. This increases interior comfort and reduces power costs.  Additionally, the environmental benefits of GKD solar management products support LEED opportunities and contribute toward LEED goals through:
• Energy and Atmosphere points by reducing air conditioning and lighting electrical loads.
• Materials and Resources points because it’s made from recycled material and is recyclable.
• Sustainable Sites points when used as an overhead sunshade to reduce the heat island effect.

Completed in 2014, the Turkish Contractors Association (TCA) is a prime example of the power of GKD solar management in arid climates. Located in Ankara, Turkey, the LEED Platinum building features a stainless steel façade that provides significant solar protection. This skin helps keep heat gain under control during the sweltering days while filtering light for optimal natural lighting utility. This TCA headquarters also utilizes solar cells and ground temperature heating and cooling to achieve its prestigious status.

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