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Why “Artificial” Materials are Great for Design

There is a dichotomy within architectural design that conventionally sees natural materials – wood, patinated metals, and even paint – as good and possessing inherent beauty, whereas synthetic materials do not.

The reason designers often regard the faux negatively is largely due to the unremarkable, unmemorable, and inauthentic results too frequently produced by manufacturers without the time or the tools to design well. 

But faux materials, when created and employed correctly, can offer the same design intent with additional benefits that natural materials cannot provide in sustainability and design ability. We’ve summed it up in 3 ways faux materials are great for design.

1.  Sustainability

Natural materials can carry an enormous carbon footprint due to their limited life cycles, reoccurring maintenance, and expensive fabrication. Our artificial materials are Red List Free and 100% recyclable. The ability to also touch up material and reproduce when needed avoids a legacy of maintenance.

Japanese Garden - Celeste Stone - Inverted Seam Roof (4)

3. Reaction to Light

Previously lacking was the technology to control levels of gloss, color, and texture, making it impossible to create surfaces that interact with light naturally. Traditional paint surfaces are smooth and reflect light which is not ideal when trying to create visual substance and character.  With the ability to create physical texture through new coatings, diffuse surfaces are possible, which allows light to be soft, scattered and therefore quite interesting.

2. Control of Design

Harnessing the digital allows designers to control how the material is randomized for consistency in appearance without looking monolithic or trite.