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How low can you go?

Shining a spotlight on the growing popularity of low gloss surfaces

Something’s happening in the world of powder coatings. Gloss is beginning to lose its shine.
Until just a few years ago, most powder coated metal surfaces in Europe were coated in high gloss finishes. There were some exceptions, notably the UK, where matt finishes were preferred. But on the whole, gloss ruled. 
 
The first sign of what was to come surfaced in 2010, when matt and textured surfaces started to become more popular. Most likely because designers and architects always want to try something new.
 
But there was another, more practical reason. Low gloss and textured surfaces hide defects and imperfections better than high gloss. Just think about how you feel when your car gets scratched. No amount of polishing will remove it. Get a scratch on a matt surface, however, and it’s not half as noticeable. 
 
AkzoNobel was actually the first company to bring ultra-matt coatings to the market. The product, Interpon D2015 Précis, was launched in Australia in 2014 and has since been used on several iconic projects, including the Monash University apartments and Werribee Plaza, both in the State of Victoria.
 
Interpon D2015 Précis powder coatings are now available globally, helping to meet growing demand for that low gloss look. The range is available in 12 attractive shades, all offering built-in super-durable technology for long-term resistance against the weather. It includes six metallic colors, selected because they mimic the sort of anodizing finishes which are currently very popular on commercial buildings. The added bonus is that they avoid the problems that often come with anodizing – they can be repaired, applied to more than just aluminum and have greater color consistency between parts. 
 
With low gloss products having steadily grown to represent more than half the market, designers are now looking for something which offers even less gloss. A traditional matt coating has a gloss reading of 25 to 35 units – very low gloss is considered as being 20 units. This represents a challenge to some coatings suppliers who, for example, might opt to reduce gloss by filling their paint with high levels of coarse, inert material such as chalk or dolomite. But this reduces the weather resistance of the coating, which means it isn’t suitable for outdoor use.
 
Using ground-breaking technology developed at AkzoNobel’s polymer center in the UK, Interpon D2015 Précis has gloss levels of between seven and 15. An added, unexpected benefit is that they are soft and smooth to the touch, as well as being non-reflective. This makes them attractive to use at ground level (for example on street furniture and metalwork), as well as higher up on buildings where the absence of reflection makes the underlying color stand out more.
 
Just goes that show that brightest isn’t always best.