homeNewsExpanded Metal: A Highly Versatile Architectural Material

January 19, 2022

Metal Craft News

Expanded Metal: A Highly Versatile Architectural Material

Expanded metal is sheet metal that has been processed into a mesh-like structure. KIKUKAWA’s expanded metal imparts a strong feeling of solidity, achieved by widening the openings of the mesh. It offers both functionality and style and can be used in a wide variety of settings, from exteriors to ceilings to partitions. Since expanded metal is formed by stretching out cuts made in metal sheets, there is none of the loss or scrap that arises with sheet metal punching, and the area of the processed material is greater than that of the original material. As a result, expanded metal has been gaining increasing attention in recent years as an eco-friendly material.
Below, let us show you some examples of how this versatile architectural material has been used in projects.

Expanded metal forms an undulating 3-D mesh-like structure. Workable base materials include aluminium and stainless steel, and a variety of finishes can also be applied, including painting and anodization. This image shows aluminium expanded metal finished with urethane resin baked paint in white

■ Exterior Use
In exterior settings, expanded metal panels can act as louvers. Expanded metal offers a number of functions as an environmental building material: while its mesh structure ensures adequate daylight filters through, at the same time it provides ample blockage of sunlight and prevents indoor temperature increases.

Top: Looking up at an exterior cladded in expanded metal. Expanded metal panels have been fitted over the window panes.
Bottom: Looking down into the room. The expanded metal panels fitted to the outside of the window panes allow adequate light into the room.

Superlative functionality aside, expanded metal is also eye-catching, bringing a striking look to façades. The strand width, in other words the width of the metal strands between each opening, can be adjusted as desired; a wider strand width will result in a façade with imposing solidity, while a narrower strand width will create a softer look, closer to that of a fine mesh. The appearance of expanded metal will also change according to the angle from which it is seen and the time of day.

A mock-up of an expanded metal exterior panel. Using a double layer of expanded metal generates a Moiré pattern (interference lines)
When illuminated at night, the light that filters out through the mesh of expanded metal creates a dreamy ambiance.

■ Ceilings
“We want to remove the tiles to expose the full height of the ceiling, but we also don’t really want to show the light fittings and air conditioning units”. KIKUKAWA’s expanded metal ceiling is an ideal solution to this sort of client dilemma, a third ceiling option that incorporates the benefits of both suspended ceilings and open ceilings. Expanded metal provides adequate concealment of ducts and pipes, while the sharp and airy design works to open up the space.

Lightweight aluminium and hook fittings mean greater efficiency in ceiling equipment maintenance

■ Partitions
The characteristics of expanded metal also make it suited to partitions. As a material it boasts great ventilation and permeability, making it possible to ensure both adequate circulation and visibility. This can help to achieve comfortable interior environments. Expanded metal partitions can reduce the sense of oppression present in some spaces while still providing an adequate level of obstruction to lines of sight.

Expanded metal used in booth partitions in a shared office. These partitions delineate working spaces while still maintaining transparency
Expanded metal can also be curved. Here, by using a tight mesh, the partition has been given a lighter and airier look

In this way, expanded metal can be used in a variety of settings, and its look can be transformed depending on how this architectural material is processed and adapted.
At KIKUKAWA, we offer a fully made-to-order service that is bespoke to client needs or project requirements. We also offer the semi made-to-order KCT Series, which enables client who are unfamiliar with using metal materials to choose the most suitable option from a range of pre-determined patterns. Please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

See the links below for more details on expanded metal
Kikukawa’s Technologies – Expanded Metal Louvres

See the links below for examples of projects using Expanded Metals
Project Gallery – GMO hinata office