Metal meshes captivate in the field of architecture thanks to the purist elegance of stainless steel. To enable the use of colors in architecture, GKD has also developed various surface treatment procedures for wire meshes. Depending on the location, colored architectural meshes convey different impressions and appearances.
Ready-cut architectural meshes are subsequently painted in a wet-paint spraying process. The preferred materials for this procedure are PC meshes, which are fully wet painted over an area of up to 6 x 2.50 m on either one or both sides.
Cable mesh made of stainless steel and spiral mesh made of stainless steel or aluminum can be coated with a variety of stylish colors. Red, gold, black and white are available as standard, and custom colors, i.e. any RAL color, are also available to any customer ordering large quantities of architectural mesh. Before weaving, a colored coating is added to the mesh wires. The vertical sides of the mesh remain in uncoated stainless steel.
Continuous process Flexible architectural meshes are coated in a continuous anodizing process, whereby an oxide layer is created on the layer in an electrochemical operation. Continuous anodization is performed before the metal wire is woven.
Dipping process. The dipping method is also based on an electrochemical process and is suitable for comparably rigid architectural mesh. This creates a protective layer on aluminum wires that have already been woven. To do so, the mesh is divided into sections, which are immersed in tanks individually. The divided and preassembled mesh panels undergo various coating stages in a static tank system.
During etching, graphical elements are added to the metal mesh surfaces. This makes the graphics particularly weather-resistant, durable and non-fading. The results are strikingly attractive and unique. The visual effect is achieved by changing the surface, which then leads to altered light refraction. Etching offers unusual creative possibilities for architectural design.
The standard material used is stainless steel. The Mandarin mesh type is stocked in bronze. Of course, the non-ferrous metals copper and brass can also be used for architectural meshes for specific projects. All non-ferrous metals oxidize in humid environments and on contact with hands. These mesh materials thus form a patina. This process cannot be prevented or reversed, and can also occur unevenly.
GKD uses stainless steel alloy 1.4404 (AISI 316L) as a basic material for stainless steel mesh. As per the technical approval for stainless steel (Z-30.3-6), this alloy is assigned to corrosion resistance class III and is therefore suitable for most applications. Other stainless steel materials, such as 1.4301 for indoor applications or 1.4539 for coastal areas, can be used for specific projects.
Metallic mesh printed using digital printing processes: Alongside the various methods for printing solid colored mesh surfaces, digital UV direct printing allows complex graphics and even photographs with fine color gradients to be applied to architectural meshes. This is recommended for metal meshes used in interior applications.
Metallic mesh printed using screen printing processes: Complex graphics on metal meshes for outdoor architecture – such as façade cladding – are applied using the screen printing technique. Depending on the application, the print format ranges from a few centimetres to several metres. One advantage of screen printing lies in the ability to vary the colour application by using different grades of mesh fineness. This results in very thick paint layers, which are five to ten times thicker than with other printing methods.
Example of application: National Grand Theater, Beijing