Tasked with designing and fabricating a decorative façade for a high-end, five-story building in Brooklyn, New York, sculptor Dror Heymann has chosen to use Vycom’s Designboard® HDPE, a lighter, more cost-effective alternative to metal. The owner of LIOR, LLC in Brooklyn, Heymann works on many architectural projects. However, this is the second time he is fabricating intricate patterns into the material as part of a building’s overall architectural design. The building is located in a very prominent spot overlooking the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, so vibrancy and visual interest are important to the project.
Designboard’s solid plastic material offers the rich designer shades and textures of wood and metals with the durability and weather resistance of solid HDPE. With superior scratch resistance, stiffness, and UV resistant options, it will not rust, corrode, rot, delaminate, or splinter.
Heymann first worked with Designboard last year when Mars Podvorica, an architect and principal of MAP’D Studio in New York, asked him to fabricate panels he’d designed for the façade of a house in Staten Island. The panels were to include cut-outs with a “personal touch,” including geometry borrowed from the traditional rugs of the client’s native home.
Early ideas for material selection were in steel and aluminum. Steel was too heavy and both metals were too expensive and challenging to fabricate, with additional attention needing to be paid to their finish.
“Discovering Vycom’s Designboard solved all those problems,” explains Podvorica. “The material’s light weight, ease of fabrication, affordable cost and maintenance-free finish made it an excellent selection for our application.” He added, “Designboard’s finish works well side-by-side with the other exterior material used—manganese iron spot bricks—with both materials shining and changing their appearance under direct sunlight.
The Designboard was supplied by E & T Plastics of Long Island City, New York, and Heymann fabricated the panels last year. They were installed this summer.
Heymann’s current project in Brooklyn is one he describes as “a more interesting project.” Because of its proximity to the botanic garden, developer New Style Development New York commissioned him to create an elegant natural shape with the formal aesthetic of a contemporary piece of architecture. He is working on developing an intricate design that will be cut into the Designboard panels prior to installation. With construction now well under way, the building will be mixed-use, residential and commercial. Heymann plans to use 10 sheets of 3/8-inch Designboard across the entire front, five-by-five to the height of the building. The second floor balcony railing will be constructed of 1/2-inch Designboard, for greater stability.
Heymann said he loves exploring the use of new materials to add architectural detail and interest to his projects. “The intricate design of the Designboard will make a striking difference,” he said.