The Sportshub at the University of Queensland is a great example of creative facade design.

First impressions count: What your facade says about you

Locker Group's range of perforated metal offers excellent materials for building facades, and make no mistake, this is one of the most important design elements of your project. Cognitive scientists have proved buildings can affect mood and feelings of well-being in humans, thanks to specially attuned cells in the hippocampus.

In coming years, these psychology-based insights could begin to play a major role in how cities are designed. In the meantime, it's worth considering how your building will fit, not just into its location, but into the hearts and minds of those who will interact with it.

How can building design affect people?

In his 2015 book Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life, Colin Ellard (a cognitive neuroscientist) describes an experiment he undertook in a suburb of New York's Lower East Side. Ellard walked small groups of people around a partially gentrified neighbourhood and found that his subjects were unhappy and bored when faced with modern, slab-like structures with little creativity exercised in facade design.

Furthermore, pre-eminent urbanist Jan Gehl has observed that people will increase their walking speed when passing a blank building facade. Psychologist Daniel Berlyne has stated that humans are biologically disposed to prefer locations with some architectural complexity, and are easily bored when this complexity is absent. Even brief episodes of boredom have been proven to increase levels of bodily stress hormones, according to a 2015 study from the University of Waterloo.

While this is an extremely brief example of how buildings can affect people, the implications of these studies suggest an increased need for more human-centric facade design.

Generic facades leave a lot to be desired because we humans prefer some level of complexity.Pictured: Not a whole lot, actually.

How can this be manipulated?

While certain design theories may point to individual methods for adding a human touch, there is no single guaranteed feature that will make a facade more interesting to humans. The flip side to this is there are no hard and fast rules. An architect has a lot to juggle, and a facade needs to do many things. Getting creative with a facade will lead to a greater engagement from those who use the building, and more positive feelings and associations for those who live in the area.

How perforated metal can be used in facade design

Our perforated metal can be manufactured to any specification, meaning the only limit is your imagination.  Check out our 2017 Lookbook for some amazing finished projects, using perforated metal and Locker Pic Perf, by some of Australia's greatest architects.

For more information about perforated metal in architectural contexts, contact us today.

Contact us today

Here are our favourite ideas for creative uses of wire mesh and perforated metal.

Ingenious ways to recycle leftover steel panels and mesh

When you're obtaining materials for a project, it's often better to be safe than sorry. This might mean ordering a little more to make sure you're covered should the project change slightly, or if you accidentally damage one of the sheets. But what happens if you end up with leftover wire mesh or perforated metal? There are actually a multitude of ingenious uses for leftover metal products from Meshstore – whether your unused sheets will serve a specific purpose or wind up being more of a creative exercise, here are some great ideas for excess metal.

Wire mesh

Woven wire mesh is useful for a whole lot of applications besides the ones we usually talk about, such as industrial flooring and fencing. Here are just a couple of easy ones to start with.

Wire mesh can replace trellis in your garden as material to support the growth of vines and other climbing plants. Since our wire mesh is fairly thick and sturdy, they'll be strong enough to support grapes, cucumbers, and other heavier plant types.

Another interesting use we've seen is people using expanded wire mesh as "bulletin board" type wall hangings. The profile of the mesh can be useful for hanging keys, jewellery or even small hand tools. Creating a place to hang knick-knacks is a pretty great way to get your money's worth out of a small or oddly shaped pieces of extra metal.

Those with artistic leanings could find interesting ways to incorporate wire mesh into their creative processes. The image above is a small sheet of mesh carefully manipulated by artist Elaine Weiner-Reed to be used as support for a plaster sculpture.

Perforated metal

Though our perforated metal sheets are ideally used as flooring, screening, balustrades and beyond, here are a few cool uses from outside the box.

If you have any old shelving in need of a spruce up, those additional sheets could put to good use as cabinet doors or sliding screens on a large shelf similarly to what is pictured above. It provides great functionality and looks amazing.

Perforated Table with A frame legs.

A post shared by Redfox & Wilcox (@redfoxandwilcoxworkshop) on

Why not reinvigorate some of your old outdoor furniture but adding a new table top? While the table and chair above are clearly specially designed, the idea would be easy enough to replicate at a more DIY level.

A post shared by Nafets Remmos (@stefan1165) on

Meshstore definitely doesn't recommend taking your watch apart, but this time-piece from Swatch is incredibly cool, and a great example of creative use of perforated metal. Think how simply you could overhaul a wall clock to similar similar effect.

These are just a few ideas of how you can reuse extra metal product, but the true applications are limited only by your imagination. While Meshstore is more than happy to provide single sheets for creative projects, we would also understand if you find yourself adding a few extra sheets to your order to get creative this summer. For all your wire mesh and perforated metal needs, Meshstore has you covered.

Perforated metal is a versatile material, but how is it made?

How is perforated metal made?

Perforated metal has been used for the last 150 odd years for a number of purposes. First developed as a filtering system for coal miners, the original perforation process was lengthy and exhaustive. In the old days, labourers would manually punch individual holes into a metal sheet, but thankfully, more efficient manufacturing processes have been developed since then.

Our manufacturing process

We start with a coil of sheet metal in the desired gauge of the product we're making. There are a few different methodologies for different products, however for standard products the coil is fed into one of the machines. The machine's rollers pull the metal through, and the holes are punched by needles mounted on a rotating cylinder as the sheet metal moves through the machine.

For more specialised products such as Pic Perf, the whole sheet would be loaded into a turret punch, where the pattern is programmed in. This way the machines can punch the right configuration of different sized holes to present the larger image. The turret punch allows multiple needle profiles and sizes to be swapped into the punching position, so it's perfect for jobs that require unconventional patterns or greater detail.

Perforated metal manufacturingOur factory is set up in such a way that we can produce perforated metal in a huge range of profiles.

Our flexibility with customisation

One of the things we pride ourselves on is our ability to provide unique tailored perforated metal solutions to our customers. We've set up operations in such a way that we can be flexible in terms of delivering specific or one off products. In many cases we've had to create new tooling to complete custom jobs. We are not put off by this, and we are certainly not the type of company to say "we can't do it." If it can be made, we can find a way to make it.

Our team are always looking for ways to improve the range.

Our engineering team are always looking for ways to improve the range, and this involves some experimentation. Trying out new methods, experimenting with tensile strengths and folding/trimming techniques to the get the best possible product out of the design and manufacturing teams. It's this dedication to flexible solutions and experimentation with materials and processes that helps us stay ahead of the market.

Perforated metals have a huge range of applications. From facades, screens and balustrades to filters, grilles and ventilation. Meshstore is your one stop shop for pre-made perforated and expanded metals, woven and welded wires, and metal planking and railing products. Backed by the industry leading Locker Group, you can shop online right now, check out one of our branches, or contact us for more information.

Pictured: You this summer.

4 Locker Group products ideal for your next spaceship project

Summer is on the way, which means it's time for that classic Australian pastime; getting your mates around, firing up the barbie and slapping together a spaceship in true DIY fashion. We've all done it, and we know you're about to as well, that's why we thought we'd provide you with a brief guide to how our products can add a touch of class to your cosmic cruiser.

Gridwalk

This expanded metal flooring solution is one of our most popular for spaceship floors, suitable for everything from general flooring, to catwalks to mezzanines in the engine room. Basically, anywhere you need durability and affordability – Gridwalk will be there. We've provided Gridwalk as flooring to a number of industry-leading interstellar agencies, so you know it's the best. It can be fixed via clips or direct welding and we're proud to say that Gridwalk meets every technical standard in The Milky Way. 

Alutread

Alutread is lightweight though extremely tough, specifically designed for aggressive environments including the harsh vacuum of space. It's a fantastic material for external walkways on larger projects. Because the robust aluminium alloy is corrosion free, the Alutread will hold up against solar winds and all that radiation. This means that if you do have to venture outside the ship, you'll be just as safe as if you were inside. While it's true that in space, no-one can hear you scream, Alutread will make sure you never have to.

The dark industrial hallway.No spaceship is complete without the obligatory dark industrial hallway.

Gripspan

Our Gripspan planking offers anti-slip surfaces in a range of tread profiles. We recommend this highly durable steel planking for loading ramps. We don't know exactly what you'll be up to as you blitz the spaceways this summer ("what happens in space, stays in space") but chances are you'll find yourself in a situation where you need to get on board and depart in a hurry. Gripspan will help you avoid nasty slips and spills that might put the rest of your operation in jeopardy. Available in lengths as long as you can carry, Gripspan is perfect for any size spaceship project.

Animal Flooring Options

If we know anything about space, which we do, it's that there are creatures aplenty. Maybe you'll want to bring a few of those feathery Dog-things back from Kepler-6B for your Nan? If you're looking to bring back some alien livestock, then you should consider some of Locker Group's animal flooring options. These options boast extremely high tensile strength, and are available in different weaves and specifications to suit all manner of strange beasts. Let us know what you'll be transporting, and we'll have the solution for you.

If you're looking for out-of-this-world materials for your spaceship project this summer, look no further than Locker Group. To find out what else you can use our products for, get in contact with us today.

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