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Adding Metal Mesh to Your Canvas

Metal has become such a valuable aesthetic design element that, in some cases, it's almost art. One such example is metal fabric, which opens the architect's palette up to all kinds of different stylings. An exhibit taking place in Tokyo is currently showcasing the work of Dominique Perrault, who has been using GKD mesh as a primary design element in a number of internationally recognized projects.

The following tells the story of the exhibit, which is showing how metal can make your building into a work of art:

Just two years after his first major exhibition at the Pompidou Centre in his home country of France, internationally renowned artist and architectural designer Dominique Perrault is being featured in a show at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery. The exhibit will display a cross-section of Perrault's work from the design of the French National Library to the present day, nearly all of which feature metal fabric as a primary design element.

The architectural style of using metal fabric as external wrapping was one of Perrault's first contributions to the art of building design in the 1980s. His first major design, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris which featured metal fabric by GKD, won him a prestigious international design competition sponsored by the then President of France, Francois Mitterrand. Using the textile element of the mesh in a minimalist fashion, Perrault made an international name for himself and began the trend of merging the industrial aspects of architecture with the building's environment. In various projects, including the Berlin Sports Centre for Cycling and Swimming, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and the Madrid stadium, Perrault was constantly inspired to new interpretations in his work by the functionality and subtlety of woven metal membranes.

Timed to coincide with the completion of the first Perrault project in Japan-the glass dominated Fokoku Seimei office building in Osaka-the exhibition at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery showcases videos and models of Perrault's projects from the past 15 years in three themed areas. The exhibition focuses on his philosophy, which emphasizes the links between architecture and the natural environment, as well as the process-based nature of design.

The exhibit itself mirrors Perrault's own style, using stark minimalism and industrial elegance. Twelve lengths of semi-transparent GKD Escale 7x1 metal mesh up to 20 feet in length hang as space dividers from the ceiling and visually separate two of the gallery areas. Fifty lampshades made from finely woven, pleated filtration mesh underline Perrault's creative involvement with stainless-steel mesh. A glass, true-to-scale mock-up of the Fokoku Tower creates the link with the present and with the country of Japan. In addition, various other projects are displayed in which he has used metal mesh from the leading international weaving mill in Duren as a fundamental design element.

The exhibit opened at the end of October and runs through December 26, 2010.

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