“At the heart of the renovation and upgrading of ‘the Moon’ children’s art centre in the Belgian city of Mechelen is a small theatre complex – a golden cube defined by its extraordinary, creased Nordic Royal copper alloy cladding.”
The project’s designers – Antwerp based import.export Architecture – were inspired by associations of ‘the Moon’ with the Apollo 11 Lunar Module and its crumpled golden metal underside. This aesthetic is presented as a contemporary reflection on the intricate stone tracery of the neighbouring medieval cathedral tower, although being achieved within a modest budget.
Side panel of Mechelen Moon Art Centre located in Mechelen, Belgium. The panel is made from Nordic Royal Copper and it is gold-coloured. The copper has small folds and creases. The wall is seen from very close. There is a light source in the panel.

Photo: Filip Dujardin

Experimenting with folds

The architects worked with specialist fabricators Ridder experimenting with pressing and folding flat metal over a blade, resulting in a series of gentle creases – almost, but not quite, 3 D. Then, seven different designs of Nordic Royal golden copper alloy panels were produced using press moulds, each with folds running across at various angles and intensities.

By rotating and intermingling different panels a rich, random effect was created. The verticality of the overlapping panels is retained, giving structure to the facades, but most transverse joints are not horizontal, further fragmenting the surface. Some panels utilise perforated Nordic Royal, adding an element of transparency.

“Different designs of Nordic Royal golden copper alloy panels were produced using press moulds, each with folds running across at various angles and intensities”

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