Slats are the new Mosaic!

slat_compositeWhy Slats and Reveals are the New Architectural Flourish.

From Starbucks to Louis Vuitton slat patterning has burgeoned onto the scene as a new style of architectural ornament. This type of patterning takes on many forms from 3D fins, bullnoses, belt courses and reveals to 2D patterns and material joints.  And the vocabulary is expressed in all kinds of materials from sleek stainless steel fins to etched glass to more dowdy clapboard and even stucco finishes.

Unlike color which has strong branding implications and specific inherent meanings  i.e. Luxury retailers would never use orange as a brand color, this slat patterning cuts across the retail spectrum from luxury, to fast fashion to discounters. Burberry’s to Zara to McDonalds all seem to be on the same trend. fullsizerender-7

Did Starbucks start the trend with their caramel colored plywood horizontal slats?  That’s anyone’s guess, however some designers treat the detail as a style flourish and some as an integral extension of the retailers brand. For example Burberry utilizes their famous tartan plaid as a scaled pattern across their entire storefront in both urban flagships and mall locations. This a perfect example of branding, marketing and architecture all expressing the same consistent message.

This type of architectural detail is how character can be expressed in our post Industrial, post Information Age where hand formed craftsmanship such as mosaics and frescoes have been replaced with a pre manufactured, systematized, component based aesthetic.

Bottom Line: I see a lot of talented designers stretching the limits of what is achievable to them with current technologies. Looking ahead to a new world of additive manufacturing and 3D printing, there’s tremendous potential for innovations in forms and patterns. We are on the cusp of a new era where sculptural and organic forms will be common place. Until then we anticipate seeing more slats. Reveal On!

Photo Credits: Zara Sign-Florida Mall, Taco Bell-Yum Brands

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