Modern Metal Wow Factor: Architectural Metal Panels Inside and Outside! 

Today I was in the neighborhood on this beautiful sunny, chilly winter California day, and couldn’t resist paying a visit to a favorite project. This is a building designed by Rob Zirkle and his team of talents @brick. architecture and is located at 650 Live Oak in Menlo Park, CA.  If you’re ever in the area, I encourage you to do a drive by. Also, some great shopping and food right around the corner! Today, I was there to drop off some samples and meet with Rococo & Taupe but could not stop myself from checking in on our metal panels. 

What a crazy and rewarding feeling it is for me to see my original designs in metal, cladding a huge building like this, contributing to the design footprint of the neighborhood.  I took my time peeking in through the locked door to get a feel for how these look inside the enclosed stairwell.  Their purpose was two fold, form and function; laser-cut panels to provide shade enclosing an exterior stairway, while providing visual intrigue.  I believe they do just that! Today I did my best to look in through the locked entrance to see how they looked from the inside out. Next time I will arrange to get in there but I was able to get a pretty good feel. It’s super cool! The panels let just enough light in, creating beautiful shadows.  It seems to feel enclosed and safe in there yet also open to the outside. It’s perfect! I’m biased of course, but I think it’s amazing.

It’s also a very weird feeling to know every inch of this metal work so intimately!  I spent hours and hours working up the drawings of these 56 panels to make sure the pattern repeat was seamless and natural along the borders and from panel to panel. It was quite tricky and tedious work. I spent hours with our engineer to make sure my seams were architecturally solid and stable in the pattern, and that the attachments to the building were frequent, and appropriate.  I also worked extensively with the powder coater, West Coast Powder, to make sure each panel was deburred, smooth and perfectly primed to take the exterior grade Tiger Powder (the best in my opinion). I know every detail of every panel, and I even ran my hands over the screws today to make sure they were all flush as they should be, countersunk . They were, I was happy!  

As described on our website, “a Bildmarke is a visual trademark, the design identity of a brand. The Weiner Werkstätte’s was a square framing slanted overlapping W’s.  Our version deconstructs the W logo, playing off signature motifs in Hoffman’s textiles”.  This pattern is a part of the Werkstätte series, which was inspired during my trip to Vienna several years ago. I was enchanted by the jewelry, book covers, furniture, and of course the textiles made during this period In the early 1900’s.  However, I was most mesmerized by the logo stamps, sometimes subtle and sometimes prominently, but always displayed on the design treasures.  At the time, each artisan, left their stamp, their signature, their Bildmarke, with pride on their work. I love that! To honor these craftsmen and women, I designed this collection based on their logo stamps. 

This does make me wonder if I should be imprinting my work with a logo stamp, but I guess in this case, I left quite a large stamp! So many people worked hard and spent countless hours to make this happen. This was Modern Metal’s first large exterior cladding project, and I wanted to make sure it was done perfectly. It was a team effort and I believe that is reflected in the beautiful outcome. I thank John Fong, brick. architecture and Slate Gallery for inviting Modern Metal into this fabulous project. It is one that will always make me feel personally satisfied and proud.