Tessellate™ Animated Metal Surfaces

Tessellate™ is a modular framed and glazed screen system whose perforated pattern shifts and evolves kinetically; as the four metal perforated panels glide past one another, they create a dynamic architectural element capable of regulating light and solar gain, airflow, and privacy.

The versatile design can be integrated into existing systems, and is completely self-contained, protected by glass on either side of the moving metal parts. Tessellate™ is named for the patterns designed for the system. These designs are just the beginning of the visual possibilities inherent in the Tessellate System.

Creating a living building

In 2008, Zahner began developing a series of products with world renowned kinetic artist and designer, Chuck Hoberman. Hoberman foresaw a future where kinetic surface which could respond to environmental changes (such as temperature, moisture, and light) by opening or closing an aperture on the surface itself. Today these systems are here: the new Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook features Tessellate™ -- the latest system from Zahner and the Adaptive Building Initative (ABI) in joint venture.

The resulting designs are changing the way that architects are designing buildings. Architects are now designing intelligent architectural solutions, creating a new wave of smart buildings. Tessellate™ gives a building the opportunity to breath, to open & close the surface itself allowing the building to respond to environmental changes.


Photographs of the Tessellate™ System with Hexagonal Design in Motion.

Each Tessellate™ module runs on a single motor. These modules are controlled by a single computer processor, which can be programmed for various purposes. Some clients request that the panels revolve once a minute, some ask for a full revolution every hour. In this case, viewers can hardly witness Tessellate™ moving at all.

Still, other clients have requested that the system respond to changes in temperature, light levels, and time of day -- these options are available, and encouraged. When Tessellate™ is set up for this purpose, the result is an exciting moment during the day, the tipping point where the system animates, and the building shifts.


Tessellate™ is suitable for all building geometries; panel shape and size can be tailored to match any building's design and requirements — from non-rectangular profiles, to facets comprising a three-dimensional surface.

Tessellate™ perforations are available in an endless range of patterns. Our R&D team has developed a library of options ranging from regular grids to free-form and non-repeating patterns. We can consult with you to develop custom designs appropriate for your architecture, or create patterns based on your own original artwork.

Tessellate™ can be customized to fit any architectural vision — the options are virtually endless.

The product of a partnership

Tessellate™ is the first adaptive façade system jointly produced by Zahner and Adaptive Building Initiative (ABI). ABI is a joint-venture between Hoberman Associates and Buro Happold. The initative is a worldwide industry leader in the design, engineering, physics, and integration of complex architectural structures and systems.

To learn more about Tessellate™ and how to secure it for your building, contact us.

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Featured Post: Building a dual-curved facade with pre-fabricated panels. — Writer Susan Chaityn Lebovits profiles Zahner in Form Magazine, about how the Neiman Marcus facade was made in Natick, Massachusetts.

Featured Post: Zahner ShopFloor team develops a perforated Louvered Screen Wall Facade System — How a small team of ShopFloor engineers at Zahner hacked a ten-year old welding robot arm to create louvered screen wall facade systems.

Picture of ShopFloor ShopFloor: Create unique designs for architecture and interiors using a simple configurator.

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