Perforated metal has transformative versatility. It has the power to fundamentally transform a design — in so many ways. It can make an enclosed space feel open with natural light and increased transparency. It can promote breathable spaces with free airflow as part of a passive ventilation plan. And it can offer limitless expression through selective perforation — to create patterns, art, and unique surface designs.

Most importantly, perforated metal can do all this while maximizing your budget, giving you opportunities for extraordinary utility and aesthetics.

Detail of hexagonal perforated metal design for Parkline Rosemary in West Palm Beach, by Poma.

Detail of hexagonal perforated metal design for Parkline Rosemary in West Palm Beach, by Poma.

What makes perforated metal so versatile?

Perforated metal balances durability, transparency, and artistry. The majority of transparent materials have low durability. Glass, fabrics, and meshes have transparency, but can be easily broken, ripped, or warped. Metal is difficult to damage, and easy to clean. It also has incredible artistic possibilities — with custom perforation.

Few other artistic mediums are as durable as custom perforated metal. Combined with artistry, you have a material that can be used to convey a wide range of visual motifs, patterns, and even representational imagery — all while providing transparency and resilience.

Perforated Metal Fabrication

Poma: Custom Fabrication for Perforated Metal and More.

For spaces that require privacy, perforated metal allows you as the designer to control visibility. By varying the perf size, you can make it difficult for prying eyes to peer into a space, while still allowing natural light and airflow through the screen. This makes perforated metal ideal for designing secure spaces that are also aesthetically pleasing.

The Top 6 uses for Perforated Metal

All this versatility means that perforated metal can be a powerful tool for architects, designers and developers. Knowing when and where to use this surface is also important.  We’ve gathered below a selection of six of the most popular and best uses for perforated metal:

1. Parking Structure Facades

Parking Garages around the world have seen a rise in use of perforated metal. This is because you can save money on infrastructure and energy costs by using open air ventilation. Perforated metal systems can eliminate the need for expensive HVAC systems for your parking garage. In addition, you can create expressive surfaces with custom pattern and images perforated into the surface. Even if you don’t have a specific design in mind, you can work with the Poma team to develop creative imagery on perforated metal (US Patent #7,212,688 B2) to adorn your building’s surface.

Perforated parking garage for Park-Line Palm Beaches at Brightline West Palm Beach Station.

Perforated parking garage for Park-Line Palm Beaches at Brightline West Palm Beach Station.

2. Backlit Perforated Metal Displays

Perforated metal offers an truly artistic medium for designers. Take your project’s use of perforated metal to the next level with backlighting.  Backlit perforated metal can be used on almost any of the above applications, including guardrails as pictured, parking structures, and more.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by John Randle.

3. Building Facades

Perforated metal is used on many building facades as an expressive medium. Perforated building facades add an aesthetic element that can be customized with (US Patent #7,212,688 B2)perforated patterns images on metal. Designers are using the material to not only for its artistry, but also to reduce a building’s energy usage. Research on double-skin facades indicates that perforated metal can reduce a building’s ongoing energy costs.

Perforated building facade allows natural light to enter while reducing energy costs and creating compelling street vistas.

Perforated building facade allows natural light to enter while reducing energy costs and creating compelling street vistas. Pictured: 3Miami Central | Poma

4. Perforated Staircase Designs

Designers use perforated metal for staircase infill. They are safe, provide visibility, and are cost-effective.  Perforated metal staircases are one of the most popular and cost-effective ways to enhance an interior or exterior space with transparency. Perforated metal can also be used for natural tread on steps.

5. Mechanical Screen Enclosures

Heating, cooling and electrical systems require ventilation and protection. Using perforated metal is a cost-effective solution to protecting an industrial component while providing airflow for exhausts. While many designs use a basic mesh perforation, these mechanical screens can be custom perforated to create iconic additions to your building’s surface design.

Rooftop mechanical enclosure for the Courthouse Center Parking Garage.

Rooftop mechanical enclosure for the Courthouse Center Parking Garage | Poma

6. Guardrail Infill Panels

Perforated metal offers a high-strength guardrail infill for both protection and visibility. It also offers a medium for creative expression. For instance, if you need to control shade in certain areas, you can reduce and vary the size of perforations as needed. Or if you want higher visibility or increased airflow, you can enlarge the size of perforations. What’s more, these perforations can be done in elegant patterns to meet the aesthetic requirements of your project.

Perforated metal guardrail infill on the Space Shuttle Atlantis Museum at the Kennedy Space Center; Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Perforated metal guardrail infill on the Poma-manufactured Space Shuttle Atlantis Museum at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida .

The Final Word on Perforation

Above we documented some of the best examples of where you can use perforated metal on a project. But sometimes its important to know when you’ve got a good opportunity for perforated metal. There are three main factors that can help you identify the best environments for when to specify perforated metal.

Consider perforated metal if you need to:

  1. Enhance Aesthetics: Custom perforated metal is a blank canvas for any kind of look and feel. It can be expressive or modern, minimal or pictorial. It is a cost-friendly way to maximize the identity of a project.
  2. Control Visibility: If you are designing a space that has visibility concerns, perforated metal can help. Perforated metal can both increase or decrease visibility into or out of a space. Do this by strategically varying the size of perforations.
  3. Increase Airflow: Perforated metal promotes good airflow for both interior and exterior spaces. Using perforated metal as part of your passive ventilation strategy can reduce energy costs and eliminate the need for mechanical ventilation.

Perforated metal is a growing medium for architectural expression and function. The opportunities are endless. To learn more or begin working with a Poma perforated metal specialist for your project, contact the Poma team.