Architizer Asks: What’s Your Favorite Interior Finish?

Sheila Kim Sheila Kim

In this edition of Architizer Asks, architects and interior designers share their current favorite or go-to interior finishes, from tiles and acoustic panels to metallic surface treatments.

Neil Bartley
Design Studio Manager, Studio O+A, San Francisco

“Shhh … This one is a secret from Form Us With Love, the Swedish industrial design studio you can’t hear enough about. You know when designers figure out a way to put together simple, natural source materials like wood, wool, cement and water and make something that literally breathes moisture, stores and emits heat, absorbs sound and resists fire? That’s Baux Acoustic Panels.”

Baux Acoustic Panels

Giulia Chiarlitti
Senior Designer, The UP Studio, Long Island City, N.Y.

“I love Stone Source’s Stormy Gray Travertine for its timeless elegance and its inherent qualities, specifically its striations, pores and troughs that grace its surface. The combination of silver and ivory colors makes it versatile in any application and therefore can work with both cool and warm tones. Yet the stone’s depth allows it to stand out all on its own.”

Susan Doban
Founding Principal, Doban Architecture, Brooklyn, N.Y.

“Rich shading and patterns give intimate scale to the large Fossil tiles from ABK, making them uniquely versatile. I used them to bring sophistication to a small attic bathroom in a private home as well as to bring warmth and texture for long expanses in a college cafeteria.”


Francisco Hermo
Designer, Perkins+Will, New York City

“For the recent renovation of our offices, we used HD Printed Glass ACP748 from Accura Glass in the lobby, including the storefront system. These custom panels employ digital printing methods to produce one-of-a-kind effects with different opacities and mirrors films, so we were able to create a unique pattern inspired by organic forms that has fascinating visual depth and transparency qualities.”

Amanda Lamontagne, Assoc. AIA
Project Designer, Svigals+Partners, New Haven, Conn.

“We’re in construction on a new headquarters building for a nonprofit serving persons with psychiatric and developmental disabilities. I was very excited to see Realstone Systemsstone veneer panels installed, quickly and cost-effectively, on a double-height wall behind the reception area. The stone represents a hearth: a symbol of ‘home,’ which is a design motif we incorporated throughout the project. Stone veneer is a great way to add texture, color, warmth and a dynamic element.”

Gita Nandan, RA, LEED AP
Principal, Thread Collective, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Plexwood is modern yet soft and versatile, and the Netherlands-based manufacturer boasts a good environmental ethos. The wood appearance makes it approachable, but the abstraction and line pattern [give] it a modern aesthetic. The wood core makes it a great acoustical material, and it’s a zero-VOC finish, which helps achieve IAQ goals. We’ve specified Plexwood as a floor-to-ceiling paneling system that completely concealed the doors within the wood pattern.”

Plexwood applications

William Suk, AIA
Principal, Suk Design Group, New York City

“We enjoy introducing structural steel elements, but, instead of painting, we specify metal fabrications from Caliper Studio with different patina finishes by Sur Fin Chemical. Not only can these finishes be used on structural elements, but also [on] steel sheets and plates that can be used to clad walls and, even, flooring. The first step of the finish process chemically etches the steel surface to achieve the desired color. Afterward, a protective lacquer is applied to prevent the steel from oxidizing. As one can imagine, steel offers a very durable surface and can blend in with so many different styles and applications.”

Examples of Sur Fin Chemical’s patina steel

Randa Tukan
Director of Hospitality Interiors, HOK, Toronto

“The base unit of Surfaces by Giles Miller Studio comes in a variety of angles and finishes that every combination yields a very different result. The three-dimensional effect has a captivating texture and an ever-changing motion depending on viewpoint and lighting. We have recently specified the Alexander tile in a metallic finish for a Hilton hotel in Bahrain.”

More Surfaces by Giles Miller Studio

Adam Zimmerman, AIA, LEED AP
Principal, Zimmerman Workshop Architecture + Design, Brooklyn, N.Y.

“When it comes to interior finishes, we like to give our clients a simple backdrop that they can personalize and change as often as they want. We’ve made-over full walls into chalkboard and used IdeaPaint, but perhaps the one that’s most timeless and elegant is Magnetism by Weitzner. We used it when we were designing Lori Weitzner’s studio two years ago, and it’s been a favorite ever since. It looks like a linen wall covering — it’s actually 50-percent linen and 50-percent iron oxide — but, thanks to its magnetic properties, it’s useful in a variety of ways, whether for hanging posters in a kids’ room or creating a feature wall in an office.”

Magnetism installed on the wall of Lori Weitzner’s studio, a project by Zimmerman

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