Pattern is a great tool for embellishing building exteriors to create identity, animating or defining a space, introducing light-and-shadow play or adding subtle visual interest. And, conveniently, it can come in many materials and forms to suit every design need, from adding a ventilating skin to a parking structure to reupholstering a dated sofa. Here are some of our favorite recent products for injecting pattern into your project.
For the exterior of Noor restaurant (top) in Córdoba, Spain, gg architects applied a ceramic skin emblazoned with an eye-catching and hypnotic geometric pattern. The entry is Cor-Ten steel. Photo by Alfonso Calza
AJK Design Studio: Ceiling Squares
We recently caught up with designer Annie Kantor of AJK at ICFF 2016 and were delighted to see that she’s translated her handsome grille designs for the ceiling plane. (Staring up at ugly ceilings in the dentist’s office supposedly sparked the idea.) These modular ceiling panels are laser-cut in steel, bronze, brass or aluminum with any of 10 powder-coat colors. They come in 16 different patterns and can also be backed with acoustical material.
AJK Design Studio
Andrea Michaelson Design: Metal Plate Tiles
The interior designer introduced her own metal plate tiles that come in three different patterns. Finished in antique bronze, brass or nickel, the tiles are offered in two formats: 4 by 12 inches or 6 by 12 inches.
Andrea Michaelson Design
Baux: Acoustic Tiles New Designs
The Swedish acoustical-coverings manufacturer continues to expand its tile offerings, allowing designers to conceive dramatic backdrops that help dampen sound. Recent additions include rectangular planks that are perfectly sized for composing herringbone patterns and hexes that create playful pixel landscapes. The tiles can be applied to walls via glue or magnets (in conjunction with thin metal sheets).
Eco Wallpaper: Front Collection
You've committed to putting some pattern on the walls, but not necessarily to adding color. Fortunately, design studio Front has created a whimsical white-on-white wallpaper collection that might be for you. It consists of nine sketched patterns with faux shadows that give the illusion of depth and texture.
Ege: Tom Dixon Track
Tom Dixon's rug collection for Ege draws on the gritty, urban landscape of his home base. His Track rug, for instance, takes inspiration from London's railway tracks and deconstructs and abstracts snippets of these linear forms. The design comes in broadloom or modular tile in 100 percent nylon or a wool-nylon blend and is suitable for commercial heavy traffic. Custom colors are available.
Fireclay Tile: Triangles
Triangles have been creeping onto hexagon territory with regards to geometric trends. Fireclay’s getting in on this action with its scalene and right-angle triangle tiles made from 70-percent-recycled content. Available in 3-, 4- and 6-inch sizes, the tiles come in more than 100 colors.
HBF Textiles: Squiggle Stripe
Introduced in the Spring 2016 collection, this upholstery fabric sports a large-scale line pattern that’s at once bold and minimal. The squiggly stripes — available in six colors — are actually stitched rather than printed onto a burlap ground for a handcrafted, embroidered look.
KAZA: New Designs
We can't get enough of this concrete-tile producer based in the UK, especially as it continues to expand its already impressive design library through collaborations. Recent introductions include the Walker Zanger–designed Lantern, which resembles an hourglass-shaped vase, and Saturn, which sports a concentric pill-shaped pattern. Meanwhile, Levi Fignar's Tre offers numerous permutations of the triangle within a triangular tile.
La Manufacture Cogolin: Jardin Intérieur
Architect and interior designer India Mahdavi puts her own spin on traditional Kilim rugs with intriguing repeating geometric motifs. In total, there are six patterns with varying pile heights in neutral or vibrant palettes. The hand-knotted area rugs and coordinating runners are available through Tai Ping and Edward Fields.
La Manufacture Cogolin
Listone Giordano: Undici
Part of the wood flooring and panel manufacturer’s Natural Genius series, Undici (which translates as “eleven”) was designed by Inkiostro Bianco as an engraved parquet line that offers 11 styles. Each plank is composed of natural oak and measures 140 by 1,200 millimeters with a thickness of 1.2 centimeters.
MDC: MDC Collection of Barclay Butera Designs
Straddling traditional and contemporary styles, these Barclay Butera–designed wall coverings are contract grade and crafted with grasscloth that is sustainably harvested. Seven patterns range from Asian and Middle-Eastern motifs to floral and geometric in soothing and earthy hues.
Nathan Allan Glass Studios: Evolution Glass
This kiln-formed glass is clear, low-iron and transitions from flat and smooth to a texture (such as this quilt-like dimensional pattern) and back to smooth. It can be specified in color or frosted finishes, tempered or laminated and applied as vertical panels including partitions and conference-room walls. The panels come in three thicknesses and dimensions up to 6 by 11 feet.
Nathan Allan Glass Studios
We love this take on the hexagonal tile from the Italian company Ornamenta. Part of its Core Basics collection, the large-scale hex features an overlapping Y-shaped line pattern that, when grouped in clusters, produces an isometric grid pattern on the floor. The design comes in white or ivory colorways and in a 60-centimeter-diameter size.
Parasoleil: Perforated Panels
Perfect for fencing/railing, screening, cladding, shading and ventilating, Parasoleil’s metal panels are composed of aluminum made with 85-percent-recycled content. A myriad of patterns and 14 finishes are available.
This isn’t your ordinary wall covering: Modular maple panels with inlaid, burnished-oak border details fit together to create striking walls reminiscent of baroque marquetry with modern leanings. Each unit measures 25 by 24.5 centimeters and is waterproofed for even bathroom applications.
Sina Pearson Textiles: Marathon
Part of the Fast Track collection of high-performance fabrics, Marathon is a striking deconstructed diagonal stripe pattern rendered in five colorways. The textile is woven of Sunbrella Contract yarns, making it colorfast, mildew-resistant and stain- and water-repellant — excellent for outdoor use.
Sina Pearson Textiles
Kill two birds with one stone: This panel system, available in wall and ceiling versions, is also a pleasure to look at with its giant mod-dot style. The sound-absorbing material is 100 percent recycled polyester.
The manufacturer's Woven Wall system — which creates a dimensional basketweave-like screen — isn't at all new, but next week at NeoCon® in Chicago, 3form will be debuting a new material for this series. Elemental is made of 100 percent post-consumer recycled office paper and finished in a choice of five metallic tones — Copper, Patina Copper, Patina Rust, Rust and Steel. (Stay tuned for more on the best NeoCon launches when we return from the show.)