Metal Fabrics Architect Highlight: Dominique Perrault

March 28, 2016

We imagine it is unusual for an architect to have a particular special interest in a single material, but to our delight, renowned architect Dominique Perrault remains enthusiastic about GKD metal fabrics. The architect has produced nearly a dozen international projects pushing metal fabrics into innovative and diverse applications. From industrial to commercial designs, to ceiling applications and moveable louvers, the architect never ceases to amaze with his innovative techniques and unique designs.

Dominique Perrault Architecture, Project: Repurposing of the Pavilion Dufour Chateau de Versailles

Perrault has no favoritism towards a single type of mesh, even creating several customized versions as well. As a result, no two projects are the same, showcasing the versatility of the mesh, but even more so the versatility of the designer. Interestingly, Perrault is responsible for how architects utilize our metal mesh products today.

Dominique Perrault Architecture, Project: GKD USA Headquarters

In the early 1990’s Dominique Perrault and GKD first collaborated on the interior design for Bibliothèque nationale de France (National Library of France). According to GKD’s Director, Stephen Kufferath, “On previous projects Perrault had already worked with synthetic fabrics, but for the Library, only non-flammable materials, such as metallic fabrics, could be accepted. Interesting technical aspects of stainless steel meshes were discovered, such as resistance, durability, rigidity under tension, maintenance, acoustic qualities, etc. Metallic fabrics often solve several functional problems at once, problems that the architect would otherwise have to deal with one by one.”

Dominique Perrault Architecture, Project: Pasarelas del Arganzuela

Additionally, this research discovered the incredible aesthetic properties of metal mesh, the driving force behind most architecture specifications, Kufferath furthers explains, “…aesthetics came more and more into play: the mesh’s light reflection properties, the silk-like elegance of the material, the variable semi-transparency, and the GKD-specific ability to weave these fabrics in extra-large pieces, up to 8 meters wide.”

Dominique Perrault Architecture, Project: Grand Theatre des Cordeliers

From Perrault’s point of view, the large metal fabric material opened up doors to new possibilities. The qualities of the material meant the metal fabric could be tailored to hang wall-to-wall and wall-to-ceiling. It makes for an intriguing detail that gives the effect of “sculptured, continuous and unassembled structures.”

Dominique Perrault Architecture, Project: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

With the collaboration between GKD and Perrault on the National Library of France specifically, exciting new innovations paved the way for new visionary uses of GKD products. New applications also brought with them a new set of technical challenges, which were overcome as the collaborative effort of an architect and a manufacturer. Reaching for new capabilities, Perrault led the way for how modern architects use metal fabrics in design.

How can we help?

As your turnkey design and engineering consultants, we are here to assist you through the entire design-build process. Please tell us how to reach you and how we can assist.