Our role has always been and will always be: To provide some of the most cutting-edge, design-friendly, architect-inspired building systems available. We’ve been able to do that because we manufacture a product – a material…
What is the role of your materials and products in the development of today’s leading architectural ideas?
Our role has always been and will always be: To provide some of the most cutting-edge, design-friendly, architect-inspired building systems available. We’ve been able to do that because we manufacture a product – a material – with inherent properties that make it smart and sexy at the same time.
But we’re never sure what the future will hold, and that’s a good thing: We currently have several new architectural mesh applications in the works that we know will help develop the future of architecture, but we never quite know how. That’s the beauty of our approach. We build for function and style, but when the architect has the opportunity to play with our material, something unexpected and unique always happens. And it’s always relevant to the most current forms of architecture. We like remaining open to ideas, but with the confidence and experience to pull them off the right way.
What are the latest innovative developments that you are working on?
Our research and development department has some really fascinating stuff in the works. After we talk with architects and develop potential new ideas for execution, we give our engineers free reign to try almost anything. They thrive on it. Specifically, we’ve been experimenting with architectural mesh ceiling systems, as well as curved mesh systems.
For ceilings, we’ve found a way to install our systems in tension, which allows for amazing expanses of metal fabric, extending hundreds of feet in length. It’s part of our LandscapeInteriors™ line, and the results are making architects and designers rethink ceilings altogether.
For curved mesh, we’ve modified our popular Eclipse™ attachment and engineered a brand new curved steel framework to undulate our material in a way that brings depth and the impression of movement to building exteriors. When most people first see this application, they do a double take. They think it’s beautiful, but don’t know exactly what it is – and we like that. It shows that we’ve been able to transform our material in unexpected ways.
Our Solucent™ mesh shading system continues to evolve, and we’re nailing down true metrics for solar shading with metal fabric. We’re incorporating those metrics into energy simulation modeling specific to our various whole-building systems using software based on the eQUEST® DOE 2.2 calculation engine. The program can predict the energy use and cost for all types of buildings by analyzing building layout, constructions, operating schedules, conditioning systems (lighting, HVAC, etc.), utility rates and weather data to perform an hourly simulation of the building and to estimate utility bills.
Additionally, we’re learning how to manipulate our material into new shapes and present it at new angles, creating never-before-seen facades and building components. Architects are challenging us with ambitious ideas, and our engineers are at the top of their game – making them reality. What they’ve accomplished in the past year, and the response to what they’ve accomplished, has been very exciting.
How can vendors and material developers push the boundaries of what is possible in advancing innovative design and architecture?
First, listen. Listen to architects and designers and allow them to create a “blue-sky concept” with your material. Allow them to dream something up. Then spend the time with them to learn and understand what they want, and why they want it. There is so much to learn, and although we have extensive experience now, we know that we can always learn something new.
Second, invest in research and development. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Hire people with a hunger for innovation, and the skills to adapt and create – not just recreate. And never stop supporting these people.
Finally, be an advocate – An advocate of design, of art, and the furthering of technology; an advocate of architects. Take the initiative in your respective industry; be the one who steps up and challenges everyone else.
Explain how your product or material was used in and contributed to the success of a particular project?
At the Aria Resort & Casino, which is the centerpiece of the new CityCenter Las Vegas urban resort development – the largest privately-funded construction project in the history of the United States – Cambridge created a curved mesh façade. Pelli Clarke Pelli designed the structure, and Cambridge built the curved panels along Frank Sinatra Boulevard.
Cambridge specifically engineered a façade system for the building’s exterior to assure a streamlined installation and a look that complemented the architect’s overall design concept. In fact, Cambridge actually worked with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects to create a brand new mesh pattern just for this project. The new pattern, Pellican, was named in honor of the firm.
Cambridge’s engineering team was able to modify their Eclipse™ attachment so that it would curve laterally – a breakthrough in architectural mesh system design. By successfully curving the Eclipse attachment tubes, the team was able to create stunning and dynamic curved metal fabric panels. The result is a first-of-its-kind façade that brings depth to the structure’s exterior and gives the impression of movement.