The beauty behind architectural zinc façades runs deep. While bold and luminous materials may be the visible highlight of most façade products, it’s actually the design and engineering process behind these systems that is truly remarkable.
VMZinc, one of the world’s leading specialists in innovative zinc solutions for building envelopes, knows the time and commitment it takes to invent the façades of tomorrow. The company allocates its resources to furthering the production of revolutionary metal façades that not only look powerful, but perform powerfully as well. To do this, they focus on redefining zinc, creating high-tech surface options that are strong and durable as well as visually impactful.
Such innovation is best seen in VMZinc’s diverse range of surface aspects. The range includes five different shades of preweathered zinc for architects to choose from. These options result in façade systems that are highly flexible and malleable, and can be embossed, perforated or textured according to an architect’s unique design vision. All of them feature 100% natural zinc, a material that’s been showcased in architectural designs dating back to the late nineteenth century. VMZinc has built upon the material’s rich history and has revolutionized the look and performance of zinc in these five surface aspects made for modern structures.
One of the company’s most striking creations in recent years is AZENGAR, the first engraved zinc in the world. It features lighter characteristics that result in a raw aesthetic, designed to imitate nature’s unpredictability. All AZENGAR products are surface treated with VMZinc’s NATURAL ZINC surface aspect and include a range of light gray color variances that exceed VMZinc’s other offerings. AZENGAR features a glossy silver color as well as a smooth finish and can naturally patina over time, darkening the zinc’s light grey characteristics and lengthening the material’s lifespan. Even after years of wear and tear, the material retains an incredibly distinctive look for a façade of any shape or size.
Another type of surface aspect that VMZinc offers is QUARTZ-ZINC. This aspect is treated to visually imitate the beauty of naturally-aged patina straight away. It is often used in situations where a natural patina may not form consistently or evenly due to surrounding weather conditions. QUARTZ-ZINC is pre-weathered before installation to take on the beautiful matte-grey tone that’s naturally-achieved on zinc products. Similar to AZENGAR products, this patina also doubles as protection for the building for years to come.
ANTHRA-ZINC presents a more moody aesthetic than its counterparts. It features dark, velvety characteristics that mimic a stone-like finish, blending with other materials such as black slate. Unlike AZENGAR and QUARTZ-ZINC, products treated with ANTHRA-ZINC may actually lighten overtime to a dark gray hue. Superficial surface scratches and marks will be covered by the natural grey patina, according to VMZinc — yet another benefit to specifying this aspect. An ANTHRA-ZINC façade will start out as a dark and sleek exterior element, eventually fading and transforming into a brighter envelope.
PIGMENTO, the last of VMZinc’s surface aspects, looks exactly as its name suggests. It’s a colored version of QUARTZ-ZINC available in green, red, blue and brown. It is glazed with mineral color pigments but still features the natural texture and shine of QUARTZ-ZINC. Over time, the pigments of PIGMENTO will also fade to unveil the natural beauty of the zinc.
Architects are becoming more and more interested in using zinc as a façade material due to its futuristic and clean look, as well as its durability over time. Natural zinc results in an aged tone that many designers are hoping for when specifying such metal façades. The more educated they are on the treatments used on these products, the more likely materials by companies like VMZinc will be chosen, not only their innovative nature, but their usability.
VMZinc recognizes this growing trend and has created a series of façade systems to help make production, specification and installation of its products a breeze. For example, the company’s interlocking panel system is self-supporting and consists of pre-formed panels and clips that can be laid vertically or horizontally on a structure. It acts as a rainscreen and can be used on top of a wood or metal framework.
VMZinc’s flat lock panel is a wall cladding system that uses overlapped metal panels to achieve a seamless appearance. The single lock standing seam wall cladding system is a traditional technique used for façades and roofing applications. It features long strips of standing seam panels that can be assembled by forming single folds on the up-stands. This technique reflects the architect’s concerns for line and shadow while also engendering a high degree of consistency and quality at the manufacturing stage.
The company’s all natural zinc surface aspects, from the shiny QUARTZ-ZINC to the bold ANTHRA-ZINC, have been used around the world for impressive façades featuring VMZinc’s various panel systems. No matter the system and no matter the surface aspect, VMZinc products can be trusted to stay firmly in place and age with beauty over time.
All images courtesy of VMZinc; header Image: Gymnasium Alain Colas, France