Metal Magic

Traditionally shopfronts tend to either comprise of the materials the building they occupy was built in (brick, stone, concrete), or feature some sort of cladding – from wood panelling to tiles and marble sheeting. Now however glass and metal are both becoming popular additions or sources of inspiration for architects and designers who want to ensure that their property stands out from the crowd and makes a bold statement which resonates with a range of passers-by. Metals in particular have a number of important advantages and natural assets which make them a dream material in an architect’s arson.

What are the practical advantages?

Structurally metal is strong, durable and malleable, depending on which type is used in the design application and what its use will be. Now technological advances in alloys have enabled architects to use metals more than ever before in both the structural and aesthetic elements of construction – where metal previously only served as window frames and girders. It’s crucial that you remember your design choices may be limited depending on which types of metal are going to be structurally appropriate, weather resistant and that their incorporation into your scheme comes within whatever budget you may have.

Going heavy metal

If you’re considering going all-out and making metal the focal point of your design, or even covering the whole of your shopfront with metal cladding or decorative work, then there are many ways you can simply and subtly introduce metals to add a certain feel to your design scheme which can’t be achieved with other materials. Metal can be painted or distressed to give a colourful, stylish appearance – or it can be moulded and crafted before being applied decoratively or as cladding on a sheet metal surface. Often metals lend themselves to more industrial-looking applications, but they can be used sensitively for a versatile number of styles – including vintage (think painted white ironwork twisted into pretty designs for a chintzy antiques shop) and modern (steel ridges comprised of planters filled with air-purifying greenery covering the front of a trendy office block).

How can metals be incorporated more subtly into a shopfront design?

Metal can add another dimension and interesting texture to a previously plain or unremarkable façade. Often metal is great paired with glass or wood – two traditional materials which lend themselves to partnerships with other raw-looking, rustic elements. This look can also be polished and contemporary however – especially when metal is only in use in a superficial, external fashion – such as shiny handrails or edgings or fancy lettering. Flexible in both senses, metals can be used to achieve a wide range of looks and can certainly enable properties of all kinds to improve their aesthetic appeal and as a consequence increase footfall.

For more on incorporating new materials into compelling shopfront designs, contact us.