Special effect colors: A sustainable alternative to the depletion of natural resources. ― 

One of the dominant trends in architectural design, especially after the mid-20th century, is to leave materials in their “natural” state and to display them as such. This aesthetic sensibility often acquires moral weight, speaking of “honesty” in construction. What is “bare” is perceived as “truthful” and the justification for this aesthetic choice is grounded in psychology, using terms of empathy: to feel that we understand the materials of an architectural construction, or the ways that they stand, establishes a relation between ourselves and the building; this kind of cognitive relation has an added, aesthetic dimension, further argued and established as “good taste”.

Such an outlook upon architecture may be prevalent in many cases, but it is not exclusive. Very often in history, the visible surface of buildings is designated to make a specific impression, through specially treated cover materials that appear more luxurious, beautiful, or resilient, while the substrate simply supports this cladding. The theories of Gottfried Semper are very telling in this respect: Semper understood architecture as a “dress”, graced with motifs that convey meaning, hanging upon a structural support. In the same spirit, Semper located material expressions designed from the outset to emulate something else: One very telling argument involved Greek Doric temples, a stone structure allegedly originating from a previous, timber construction; their formal elements, resulting from the requirements of building with timber, were transcribed in stone as if their material core were irrelevant. Semper argued that one of the most characteristic buildings in the Western canon, celebrated for its formal and structural perfection, was in fact a resilient, stone structure emulating a wooden one, less fire and weather-resistant, out of the necessity for upkeeping tradition, and its social implications.

Currently, the debate on the “origin” of forms in architecture appears rather obsolete, in favor of other preoccupations, such as building sustainability or integration into cityscapes with a historical dimension. Obviously, the color industry responded to such needs and produced special effect powder coatings to be applied on lightweight metal cladding surfaces, giving the impression of stone. Superdurable Interpon powder coatings featured in the AkzoNobel Stone Effect collection offer enhanced aesthetic finishes that provide a great alternative to concrete, Portland stone, limestone, and brickwork. These special effect powder coatings demonstrate variations in color and patination and offer the benefits of the Interpon D2525 system.

While traditional core materials, such as glass reinforced concrete (GRC), pre-cast concrete and natural stone are heavy, expensive and difficult to install and can deteriorate due to the weather and environment, Interpon D Stone Effect has all the advantages of Powder Coatings, whilst creating the stunning natural look. It is all but immune to weathering, durable, it saves money on costly materials and installation of real stone. And it also promotes more sustainable construction, as there is no need to quarry huge chunks of rock from the landscape anymore.

In a nutshell: it’s lighter, quicker, cheaper, easier to install and better for the environment. And it gives architects more design flexibility to ensure any building stands out.