Translate your Image to Metal

ImageWall - A configurator for creating perforated imagery on architectural metal panels, based on ZIRA Technology.The patented ZIRA™ Technology enables artists and architects to automatically translate an image, graphic, or design to metal, using imagery of their choosing onto a metal surface of any size using any combination of selective embossing, cutting, or perforation of the metal. Any image, photograph, drawing, or pattern can be translated to the metal surface using with ZIRA™ technology.

* Patent No. 7,212,688 B2 - May, 2007

In 2014, Zahner engineers developed ImageWall for designers to directly create designs using the ZIRA™ Technology. The ImageWall app was launched for browsers on both Windows and OS X systems for ShopFloor™ Platform. The web-based application gives designers access to build perforated facades using a simple interface, a configurator which allows users to upload their own imagery and configure their design using Zahner custom surfaces.

Kauffman Stadium (pictured) perforated facade generated using Zahner ZIRA™ Technology

Kauffman Stadium perforated facade generated using Zahner ZIRA™ Technology
Photo © Mike Sinclair

Picture of Kauffman StadiumPicture of Kauffman Stadium


Detail of the perforated and bumped Kauffman Stadium facade's Royals Logo, created using ZIRA™

The resulting mosaic or pixelation pattern is not limited to any one kind of cutting or perforation process. Several projects are produced using bumped textures as well as perforated holes cut into the metal such as the Royals Stadium pictured above, the Fairmont, below, or the de Young in San Francisco.

How we transfer an image to metal wall panels

The process for translating imagery to metal begins with your image. For example, on a recent Zahner project completed in Vancouver, ZIRA™ Technology was used to translate the architect's photograph of trees from a nearby redwood forest onto the surface of the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Vancouver BC, Canada.

ZIRA™ Technology is guided by engineered cad files that are generated using the architect's original drawing. James KM Cheng, the architect for the Fairmont, provided a photograph of the dense forest which surrounds Vancouver. Zahner Engineers took this photograph and ran it through a series of filters and tests to produce the designs which would one day result in the custom-perforated, custom-bumped, custom-image that surfaces the Fairmont Hotel. The metal surface of this project was mechanically bumped and perforated throughout via computer-controlled machinery, not unlike the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Original Photograph supplied to Zahner's ZIRA™ team for the Fairmont Pacific Rim.
Image courtesy James KM Cheng.

Image of the Fairmont Pacific Rim, designed by James KM Cheng using ZIRA™ Technology.
Image courtesy Google. View this project in Google Streetview

How the ZIRA™ Process Works

ZIRA™ stands for Zahner Interpretive Relational Algorithm. This patented process was developed to expedite complex custom perforations and selective embossing on projects of every size and scope.

ZIRA™ Technology can be used translated into bumps, dents, holes and shapes. This map is then digitally laid across the building or specific area of the building and imprinted on the panels. Finally the patterning is translated into machine language and produced in our shop. Once installed the patterning matches up perfectly - Patterns and images seamlessly continue from one panel to the next, edge to edge, and around corners and edges. We call this the pattern’s parametric relationship of individual elements to the whole surface.

ZIRA™ steps for a section of the de Young in San Francisco

The end result was that light appears as though filtered between the trees, as seen on the de Young project's page.

Projects using ZIRA™ Technology

Zahner® has completed several projects using the ZIRA™ process, and it several more projects are in the works. This is painting with metal, so the possibilities are endless.


Photograph of the laser-cut ZIRA™ facade for Lumenhaus.
Photograph courtesy of Virginia Tech University

New: Try building your own ZIRA™ Facade using ImageWall™ for ShopFloor.

For more information Contact Us, download the ZIRA™ PDF Presentation, which shows many of the surfaces that have been produced with the ZIRA Process.

Follow us and say hello:

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.

Have a complex project?

We‘ll help you design, engineer, and build it.

Get in touch