Tessellate Kinetic Metal

Tessellate is a kinetic technology for providing a modular framed and glazed screen systems. These systems can be customized endlessly for artistic applications. As the three-to-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. 

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.


Each module runs on a single motor. These modules are controlled by a single computer processor, which can be programmed for various purposes. These can be designed to revolve once a minute, or revolve a full revolution every hour. If designing for optimal energy usage, these can be programmed to move and create the most shade at different parts of the day.

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. To learn more about developing an artwork with Tessellate, contact Zahner sales and marketing.