We rely on advertising revenue to support the creative content on our site. Please consider whitelisting our site in your settings, or pausing your adblocker while stopping by.

Get the Magazine

Spotlight: Facades 2021
From ceramic to solar, paint to textures, these surfacing solutions are the latest in cutting-edge cladding.
With a Clever Facade Treatment, Heather Dubbeldam Revitalizes Her Firm’s Offices
A Solar Panel that Harnesses Sunlight – Even When There is None
3 Facade Systems Putting Performance First
PIG Design Erects a Steel Mountain for a Memphis Showroom in China
A Wood-Look Facade Gives this Eco-Friendly Home in Italy’s Abruzzo Region its Nordic Feel
3 Tile Collections that Give Buildings Colourful Expressions
Pushing the Envelope: 3 Exteriors with Textural Appeal
Spotlight: Facades 2021

To many passersby, the rundown three-storey building on a corner of a recently on-the-rise-again Toronto neighbourhood at best didn’t warrant a second glance. At worst, it was considered an eyesore. Neglected for more than a decade, the century-old structure had languished into a state of disrepair, its exterior an unattractive patchwork of dingy and mismatched brick, delaminated pebble-embedded stucco and small, arbitrarily positioned windows.

But local architect Heather Dubbeldam often sees potential in the derelict — not just with the physical attributes, but in the positive influence a building can have on its surroundings. “I strongly believe well-designed architecture can catalyze change and impact a neighbourhood,” she...

If all goes according to Manila engineering student Carvey Ehren Maigue’s ambitions, a future retrofit of the Montreal Convention Centre could turn the building’s fluorescent facade into a more-than-18-kilowatt solar farm. “The city itself could become a renewable energy plant,” says Maigue. “That’s what we’re aiming for.”

Maigue is the inventor of AuREUS, which converts the sun’s ultraviolet rays into green energy with a little help from garden-variety greens. Recently recognized with a 2020 James Dyson Award for Sustainability, his panel design works in two stages.

Manila engineering student Carvey Ehren Maigue with the ginger roots that give his invention its fluorescence.

First, organic luminescent particles...

Mitrex BIPV

Unlike traditional solar energy generation panels, Mitrex’s BIPV (building-integrated photovoltaic) materials can be seamlessly incorporated into any building exterior. A solar cell is applied to an aluminum honeycomb base, which is in turn layered with tempered glass with a ceramic facing that can be endlessly customized. Finishing options range from monochrome colours and precast concrete to natural wood or stone and even tailor-made designs; the adaptable cladding system can be incorporated into retrofits as well as new builds.


Glen-Gery has introduced its first ceramic cladding, Terraçade. Prefinished, colourfast, high-impact-resistant and able to withstand extreme weather —...

Bold geometric shapes, garish colour combinations, vividly stylized patterns and motifs — the instantly recognizable hallmarks of Memphis design are a far cry from understated. And so it would follow suit that an exhibition space and showroom dedicated mainly to furniture and objects from the groundbreaking 1980s movement should be equally curious, exaggerated and bizarre.

When commissioned for a Memphis Milano outpost in Hangzhou, China, local designer Li Wenqiang took the collective’s advocacy for “unrestricted creative expression” to heart and devised a renovation that was both a departure from its surroundings and an indicator of the “unexpected sensory experiences” the pieces inside bring to people.

More than 200...

The windswept shores of the Adriatic Sea may seem like an unlikely place to find a minimal, Nordic-inspired cottage, but Italian architect Valeria Aretusi has built just that. Set into olive tree–speckled hills overlooking the Italian village of Roseto degli Abruzzi, Residenza Q is a stark contrast to the ornate 19th-century villas and sixties-era apartment buildings populating the town below.

“[It is] unique in its style, especially for its contemporary character and Nordic design,” says the architect. The wood-frame dwelling is an uncommon mode of construction in Italy but one of Aretusi’s areas of expertise. The pitched-roof, 118-square-metre house is divided into two slightly staggered mirror-image modules: one for the...

Steni Vision

This polymer–stone composite system from Norwegian facade manufacturer Steni offers realistic expressions through a signature printing technology. In 14 standard patterns that mimic natural wood, stone, and concrete (plus matte, semi-matte and high-gloss finishes), the Steni Vision cladding can also be specified with custom illustrations and graphics, like the shimmering fish scale design for Norway’s Arctic Salmon Center by architect Peter W. S.derman of Norconsult, shown here. Offered precut for ease of installation, the water-impermeable panels are frost- and impact-resistant and low-maintenance.


Casalgrande Padana’s new collection of porcelain stoneware tiles, dubbed Atelier,...

Set in Stone

The newly retrofitted Hong Kong Museum of Art features a dynamic exterior that mimics the undulating waves of nearby Victoria Harbour, achieved via the installation of Equitone’s Tectiva range of through-coloured cement panels. An ode to traditional Chinese masonry patterns, the customized aluminum-framed modules are each made from five separate pieces; cut at differing angles, they create shadow joints that enhance the 3D effect. Sound-insulating and resistant to water damage, extreme temperatures, fungi and bacteria, the material has a sanded surface and is available in nine standard colours.

Outer Wear

Wrapped in 8,500 custom panels of Lorin IndustriesClearMatt series of anodized...