GUEST ARTICLE: From Peachy Pastels to Polished Porcelain

  • 26 Jan 2024

2024 promises to be an exciting one for the UK commercial design and construction community. Following a challenging few years for the sector, industry forecasts are generally predicting a return to growth in the next six months. From a creative and innovation standpoint, there’s plenty to inspire architects, specifiers and fit-out professionals alike, particularly when it comes to powder-coating. Here, Powdertech, one of the UK’s leading specialists in powder-coated architectural metals, offers its take on top colour and style trends in this category, defining this year’s design decisions…


Peachy properties

The pastel-rich buildings of Ocean Drive, Miami come together with the sun-drenched boulevards of the French Riviera for 2024’s Pantone Colour of the Year, ‘Peach Fuzz’. Where 2023 saw an uptick in rich and vivid tones, specifiers are now looking at softer, more-muted palettes for single-colour facades. Whilst we’ve already noticed increasing enquiries for orangey-pinks, other subtler-hued colours are also proving popular.

Rust never sleeps

Corten, rusted and patinated surfaces maintain their appeal, however we are observing a mounting appetite for other distressed metal-effect finishes. Verdigris, antique brass and oxidised zinc are now more sought-after for statement and feature walls for both exterior cladding and internal fit-out. Powder coating technology has come a long way over the past decade, with hyper-realistic patterns which will have an observer hard-pressed to tell the difference between it and the source material. Not only that, specifiers are also attracted by the lower maintenance requirement offered by the powder-coated alternative.

Firing the imagination

Last year, we received more and more enquiries for ceramic-like surfaces, ones which had the look and feel of glazed terracotta and even tempered glass. A great example of this can be found in a recent, bespoke commission we undertook for architectural fabricators Metalline, on behalf of Century Facades, to produce an array deep blue exterior panels for the Chapter Living’s new building in Kings Cross, London. Developed from a sample of real, azure-tinted glazing, to the naked eye it perfectly mimics the real thing and points to the potential to produce similar-type surfaces over the coming 12 months.

Leaner and greener façades

Less is more in contemporary façade specification and there is now an expectation, throughout the supply chain, to use fewer resources and achieve the maximum value from those specified. Manufacturers are increasingly moving to circular production processes, from closed-loop recycling to take-back schemes. Architects and cladding contractors are following suit, looking for slimmer profiles which achieve the design brief at minimal environmental cost, without compromising on performance. This move has seen a rise in enquiries for powder-coated alternatives to traditional, carbon-intense materials including galvanised steel, beton concrete and even full-body tropical hardwood.

Curves and contours

The days of linear façade design are over, straight lines and sharp curves are out and smooth waves and seamless curves are in. Expect to see building fronts become even more ambitious

in their scope, with more invisible joints between wall panels installed to create an alluring visual continuity, mesmerising the observer with uninterrupted beauty. Not only that, this feature-led cladding lends itself perfectly to powder-coating, which can easily match the required consistency, whether single-shade, two-tone or multiple colourways. In 2024, expect specifiers to deliver some of the brightest, boldest and most beautiful commercial façades to date.

Of course, this only scratches the surface of what’s guiding aesthetic preferences in the UK specification market…

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