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The Appeal of Matt Surfaces

This article appeared in Planquadrat 2/2020

Cover photo: Christian Eblenkamp

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Speaking of matt surfaces within the context of architecture will make everyone aware that this involves a balance of challenge and success. The appeal of making surfaces look and keeping them permanently matt – i.e. not silk matt and not just initially until traces of use, life in general and cleaning create an unwanted shine – bears a certain fascination. High-gloss surfaces no longer represent sophisticated, costly, high-quality elements: Perfect application of a velvety and matt finish underlines minimalism and sobriety, is unpretentious and unobtrusive. The harmonious appearance in conjunction with rough stone or concrete surfaces all the more emphasizes the selective use of a high-gloss or metal look.

Matt Remains Matt – Regardless of the Combination

The heterogeneous combination of contemporary design may permit almost any style – but the significance of genuinely matt surfaces remains crucial in terms of interior design in residential and functional buildings as well as representative facilities. If the market demands a product, companies are responsible for meeting this demand. Brillux is familiar with trends and aesthetic approaches, the company verifies their relevance and quickly reacts with tested product innovations.

Futurium, Berlin, Matt enamel

Futurium, Berlin, Alexanderufer; Products: Sensocryl ELF 266, 2K-Aqua Matt enamel 2390

Photo: Schnepp Renou

Glass hut Alt-Stralau

Glass hut Alt-Stralau, Berlin: Glass was produced and processed on the Stralau peninsula for more than 100 years, before production ceased in the mid-1990s. The former factory building of the Stralau glassworks has now been converted into communal living. Flowing rooms and lines of sight across the building have been created, maintaining the loft character of the apartments; Products: Sensocryl ELF 266, Superlux ELF 3000, Vetrolux ELF 3100

Photo: Udo Meinel

School Kronberg, Superlux

School, Kronberg; Product: Superlux ELF 3000

Photo: Werner Huthmacher

Door, Softfeel

Cityloft, Duvenvoordestraat, Haarlem; Product: Softfeel

Photo: Imre Csány

Matt Facility

Construction panel

  • Address: Osnabrück
  • Object type: Private property
  • Planning: Architekten Bergmann und Goda
  • Implementation: Diers Ihr Maler GmbH & Co. KG

The reception area of the new residential building near Osnabrück in western Germany has been almost entirely emerged in a dark anthracite. The room most of all owes its impressive effect to the total of 70 square meters of seamlessly designed walls featuring soft matt surfaces with a velvety and soft feel that radiate a special value and appeal to all senses. Seidenmattlack 2188 (as Hydro PU spray variant) Softfeel has been applied here as a transparent finish.

The front door leads into a hallway and after a few steps, it opens up into an ample foyer-type room with a ceiling height of eight meters. The wall to the left of the front door features sophisticated, matt volcanic stone cladding in anthracite that has been drawn into the building from the outside. The opposite walls in the hallway are also anthracite, just like all other walls in the reception foyer as well as the floor.

Softfeel, Quakenbrück

Photo: Christian Eblenkamp

Softfeel, Quakenbrück

Photo: Christian Eblenkamp

Softfeel, Quakenbrück

Photo: Christian Eblenkamp

Matt Enamel Paints and Woodstains

Brillux offers various solutions for permanently matt surface coatings. The water-based, two-component 2K-Aqua Mattlack 2390 polyurethane acrylic enamel paint is available in all required Scala shades and can be used as a transparent coat indoors as well as on objects, such as wood.

Softfeel is perfectly suitable to lend a transparent finish to all indoor surfaces treated with acrylic and alkyd resin enamel paint. The paint can be used in shopfitting and trade fair design, on shop floors, in domestic living spaces and for decorative design elements as well as radiators and wall surfaces.

Weather-resistant Mattlasur 618 is suitable for application on all hardwood and softwood surfaces. The natural character and genuine look of the matt material consequently remains both perfectly visible and outstandingly protected.

Black – Matt – Sculptural

Construction panel

  • Address: Bad Freienwalde
  • Object type: Office
  • Planning: Archtitekten Planconzept GmbH
  • Implementation: Krause Bautenschutz

This matt-black steel structure occupies the center of the room like a sculpture. The vertical development forms the center of the room and catches the eye of onlookers. The surrounding rooms' functions fan out loosely and calmly from this black axis.

Planconzept architects, themselves also the owners, wanted the darkest black for their intervention that would, on the one hand, brutally break up the structure of the old building and secondly, elegantly merge old building structures with new functions. The solution was 2K-Aqua Mattlack 2390 in Scala shade 99.00.69 (RAL 9005 Jet black). With the closed-off metal encasing that acts as a railing, the spindle and the underside of the stairs, a total of 45 square meters had to be coated.

2K-Aqua Matt enamel 2390

A team from Krause Bautenschutz, tasked with the execution, painted the spiral staircase by hand, using the Microfiber Paint Roller 1221 for application and the Hydro Paint Roller 1288 for rolling over

Photo: Stefan Mayer

2K-Aqua Matt enamel 2390

First of all, the painting team sanded the stairs. For the prime coating, they used 2K-Aqua Epoxy Primer 2373, tinted in anthracite gray

Photo: Stefan Mayer

2K-Aqua Matt enamel 2390

The intermediate and top coats followed, with 2K-Aqua Matt Enamel Paint 2390 in Scala shade 99.00.69 (RAL 9005 Jet Black)

Photo: Stefan Mayer

Matt Interior Emulsion

The challenge isn't to apply a matt finish to a wall, but to guarantee its matt character over a long period of time – despite cleaning and mechanical stress. For this reason, Brillux offers high-quality, pure acrylate interior emulsion Sensocryl ELF 266 for demanding applications, such as in hospitals and medical practices, as well as in high-quality private living areas. Vetrolux ELF 3100 special interior emulsion guarantees permanently matt intense color shades – suitable for use in areas subject to mechanical stress. Highly transparent, functional filler material additionally and reliably protects pigments from damage. The so-called writing effect is largely reduced, any marks that appear can be removed with a microfiber cloth – the underlying pigments are not damaged, the surface is not affected.

Silk matt flooring

Permanently silk matt floor surfaces are a great challenge. The durable, silk matt effect is put to the test by the extreme degree of exposure of the surface – processing and subsequent cleaning processes are risk factors that must be adequately taken into account.

The two-component, transparent and silk matt Floortec 2KPurolid T 876 sealer on polyurethane basis was designed for resistant flooring in the interior and exterior. It can be used on a variety of floor coatings – as well as for additional design options with Decochips 843. The covering can be used as a protective sealer in system build-up with Floortec 2K-Mineralico SL 470 and flooring plaster Luxury Vinyl Tiles 3055.

The Floortec 2K-Purolid F 878 variant boasts the same properties and is also available for delivery in a color shade of your choice. This creates a homogeneous surface that is just as durable as it is aesthetically pleasing.

Matt Looks Great

Black kitchen, matt

Fronts, flights and depths: Matt lacquered surfaces were once a homage to the good old days, to country house style

Photo: ostap25/Adobe Stock

Black kitchen, matt

But now, surrounded by extremely high-gloss objects made of metal, glass and polished stone, matt surfaces look extremely refined

Photo: peshkov/Adobe Stock

matt car painting

Dynamics, harmony and form: A sporty car model polished to a high gloss used to be sure to catch the eye, whereas today, matt paint or a foil finish generates maximum attention. Despite high prices, additional cleaning requirements and, if necessary, expensive repairs, it’s worth the effort for many car enthusiasts

Photo: Ivan Kurmyshov/Adobe Stock

Why is Matt Now Considered Sophisticated?

Ultimately, you would think that proverbs like "it's not all gold that glitters" would indicate that a shine and gloss signals value. Glossy, shiny surfaces develop if a surface reflects the light at the same angle that it reaches the surface. However, this only works for very smooth surfaces. Natural surfaces tend to be mainly uneven and scatter the light hitting them in various directions which creates the matt effect. That's the simple reason why there are so few glossy surfaces in nature.

There are cultural and historic reasons for the fact we deem matt surfaces as more sophisticated and elegant than glossy surfaces nowadays, especially in the interior. In the old days, high-gloss surfaces indicated wealth – just think about the piano lacquer surfaces of high-grade, antique furniture. However, as part of minimalism and the trend to be visually unobtrusive, moving away from chrome, a high-gloss finish and artificial character, glossy surfaces became a thing of the past. Authentic material, a genuine feel and tangible structures have suddenly become all the rage and these elements have thus been accepted as the new trend reversal.

Healing stone

Healing stone

For Alexbad community health center, the architects at Brückner & Brückner went on an emotional journey through nature.