PicPerf® is a process Locker uses for all of their perforated metal image designs

The role PicPerf® plays in our perforated metal designs

Adding visual details to your architectural design is key to drawing in curbside appeal. As the cornerstone of our architectural range, a perforated metal sheet by Locker is developed in-house and offers precision-made features to add the spark you're looking for in a façade.

We rely on PicPerf® for all of our perforated metal image design work. While you may have seen it mentioned in Architecture and Design or one of our end-of-year Lookbooks, this article will highlight what the process is, how it works and why we use it.

Perforated metal designs integrated into a facade to add intricate asethetics. Perforated metal designs integrated into a facade to add intricate asethetics.

Customised perforated metal

PicPerf® is a digital imaging processing program made specifically for perforating metals. It takes positive or inverted images and converts them into our perforated metal program. The software uses the holes in the sheet metal and background colour to create a textured 3D effect. It can be scaled for large or small spaces depending on the needs of the project.

Background lighting and viewing distance are taken into consideration as we design the image for the program. For example, a positive image will rely on a dark background, where an inverted image needs some sort of background light either natural or synthetic. The optimal viewing distance will depend on the size of the holes used for the façade.

We may also need to use a coated metal either in light or dark colours to achieve the correct contrast.

Additionally, the thickness of the perforated sheet metal is determined by how large the façade is and the size of the holes necessary for the project. The detail required for the image is another factor when determining metal thickness.

We highly recommend using aluminium for exterior façade, but we also offer stainless steel and mild steel. Aluminium has incredible resistance to corrosion and will be able to maintain the original design for longer without much need for maintenance or short-term replacement. Steel, however, while only suitable for two-tone images, is an excellent option for indoor applications.

Benefits of using custom perforated metal

If you're looking for architectural uniqueness, perforated metal façades or partitions offer the ideal solution. Perforated panels are used for protection from the sun, wind, air filtration, sound control and separation. A customised design provides visual interest and adds aesthetic value to a space.

A façade or partition can even provide a level of opaqueness to a space as you can see through either side of the panel. A customised partition is an excellent option for spaces such as a bus stop or an airport where some sun protection is necessary while waiting for transportation. The pattern you choose will also provide visual relief in an otherwise dull environment.

Perforated metal design and production steps
Locker uses PicPerf® to customise a perforated metal sheet based on your needs. All it takes is a few easy steps:

  1. Provide the image you want to be used for the metal panel. This will include the folds and bolts necessary.
  2. We will input the image into PicPerf® where we will determine if the image will be split into multiple panels, how large or small the holes will be and the thickness of the sheet itself.
  3. Once the terms are agreed upon, we will send the completed image to our perforation machine to punch the image into the sheet.
  4. The surface will then be treated, powder-coated or anodised for the desired finish.

We will include bolt holes into the production to ensure the panels are ready for installation. The bolt holes are incorporated into the design of the façade or partition.

If you're looking for a unique design and a façade or partition that will add visual appeal to your next project without compromising the integrity of the building, contact us for more information.

Natural materials from the landscape can help you put together a facade that truly integrates with the space.

How to blend architectural façades in with the landscape

Architectural design can take on many forms either to stand out from or to blend in with the surrounding geography. Adding colour, texture and shapes from the surrounding environment of a new building wall façade can add a more harmonious design to the area. This article will explore why you may want to incorporate your next building into the landscape rather than giving it a distinctive design.

A seamless transition from nature to structure can add a lot to a landscape.A seamless transition from nature to structure can add a lot to a landscape.

Why blend your architectural façades?

Building façades offer benefits to buildings such as shielding them from wind, protecting them from the sun, facilitating passive cooling or providing opportunities for natural ventilation. The architectural design could incorporate features that absorb flood waters or improve aesthetics as well. All of these elements are in response to the surrounding environment of the building and the intent of the structure itself.

A blended architectural façade design offers a more harmonious quality to a landscape. Instead of constructing a structure that is meant to stand out, a balanced design causes less impact on the surrounding area.

A 2018 journal by Nazire Papatya highlights the importance of sustainable building design, citing that using the landscape as a base for your drawings could improve its energy efficiency and synchronicity with the environment. This could not only mean using perforated metal façades but pulling in colours of the local plants and ground to deepen the visual impact.

Architectural methods to implement this design

While Papatya's dissertation on architecture design primarily focuses on using plant life to manage sustainable structures, there are man-made options you can use as well. The best way to blend a new building with the landscape is to first survey the land. Understand how the space slopes and consider the likelihood of heavy rain, wind or sunshine at certain times of the year or day. Then take in the colours you might use that will coordinate with the landscape.

Generally, a building is meant to communicate a sense of comfort and safety from the elements. This doesn't mean you need to build a fortress made out of titanium metal, but consider a façade that not only protects and provides durability but compliments the area around it as well as the function within.

Perforated metal, expanded metal or woven wire could serve these purposes perfectly as they are not only versatile but can coordinate with the landscape via a coloured coating. The material you choose should also take into consideration how it will fade over time. Choosing a metal that is corrosion resistant like aluminium can add improved longevity to the structure while maintaining its original intent.

A traditional or contemporary design could determine how you incorporate different materials as well. An exterior wall with floor-to-ceiling windows, or ground-to-roof perforated metal could meet your needs for either a modern or traditional design — it's all a matter of how you choose to incorporate colours and textures of the elements around the building to inspire you.

Locker offers an architectural design solution

From ideation to construction, Locker offers the façade solution you need. We are the leader in the perforated sheet metal market, offering a range of woven and welded metal mesh for a full-service design to product solution. We specialise in mild steel, galvanised steel, brass and stainless steel metal material available for your needs, both made-to-order or custom designed.

Adding a visual spark or integrating your design with the landscape is easy with Locker's decades of experience. We can ensure you get both a product that is perfect for the needs of the building as well as your architectural vision.

To get started or to learn more about our product solutions, contact us today.