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6 Finishing Trends to Watch

From blue-green hues to tactile textures, check out what’s driving advancement in finishing for architectural aluminum products

Finishing Trends
Wood grain-style finish on 2400 Market St. in Philadelphia.  

01 - Blues and greens 

Predicting which colors people will want to see is a valued business. Blue and green hues dominate 2020’s color of the year selections: PPG’s “Chinese Porcelain”; Sherwin-Williams’ “Naval”; AkzoNobel’s “Tranquil Dawn,” a “soft, near-gray shade with just a hint of green”; and The Color Marketing Group’s “Electrum,” a “green-influenced gold metallic.” 
Already predicting 2021, The Color Marketing Group has declared a pale-blue “Mist” as the North American market’s key color. And, unrestricted to just one annual color, Valspar shared a dozen nature-inspired color options ranging from “Utterly Blue” to “Secluded Garden.” 

02 - Biophilic beauty 

Design trends also show a more intentional shift to deepen the connection between people and their built environment with the natural environment. Following these biophilic principles, wood, terra cotta and marble patterned finishes can be applied to architectural aluminum products to mimic the beauty and warmth of the genuine material without the actual maintenance. 

For example, replicating a global forest of wood species choices, finishing providers can apply fresh-cut, aged or distressed wood looks. And while terra cotta, marble and natural stone masonry may be out of reach for many building designs, some finishing providers can now convey the elegance of these luxurious materials and achieve a similar appearance on aluminum wall panels and trim. 

03 - Tactile textures 

Finishes also can enhance the biophilic and sensory experience with textured coatings. Terra cotta painted colors gain authenticity with a gritty, stone-like feel. Wood grain finishes find added depth and simulated grain without fear of splintering. 

04 - Sparkle and shine 

Drawing inspiration from a sunlit creek or a clear night sky, mica and metallic coatings bring sparkle, shimmer and shine to almost any color. A dynamic finish choice, the reflective quality of these specialty coatings appears to change throughout the day and the seasons. This vibrant, dimensional attribute can be added to whites, neutrals and pastels, as well as to black, bright and jewel colors. 

05 - Rich and resilient 

Rich tawny tones are recommended complements to the trending greens and blues. When true copper is impractical, Copper Anodize finish on aluminum can present an economical, close impression. Unlike real copper, the anodize will not patina, retaining its elemental metallic look. 

The strength of anodize is its high-performance durability. Until recently, its weakness has been the very limited color range. Bordeaux Anodize now adds a rich, burgundy color to the palette. Like Copper Anodize, Bordeaux Anodize provides the versatility to meet either a contemporary or historic aesthetic, while delivering industry-leading performance. 

06 - Custom creations 

When one of the 50,000 colors available still does not quite match, finishers with an in-house blending laboratory can scan samples to match anything from a piece of metal to a swatch of fabric, and then formulate the recipe to apply it. 
Choosing the right color is largely an aesthetic, and often subjective, decision. Specifying, producing and applying a finish to match the chosen color combines performance-driven, technical expertise as well as artistically minded creativity. 


Tammy Amos

The author is a Six Sigma black belt at DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions in Wilmington, Del.,, 302/992-4153.