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Brent Burkhardt
Choptank Communications


New kinetic metal fabric energizes architectural facades and interiors with wind-activated panels

May 08, 2017

Cambridge, Maryland -- Cambridge Architectural has introduced Motion Mesh, a new kinetic metal fabric system that invites architects and designers to incorporate energy and movement into the built environment in a variety of applications including façades, interior cladding, artwork and signage.

The kinetic fabric is featured in a signature art installation and welcome sign commissioned for the 20th anniversary of the Dorchester County Visitor Center on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Located on the banks of the Choptank River, the installation is comprised of 1,400 stainless steel flaps that move in the breeze with wave-like motion. The flaps are suspended on a 15 x 12-foot sail-like panel that features the county’s distinctive “Water Moves Us” logo.

Motion Mesh’s patent-pending design allows airflow among the movable flaps to create a kinetic fabric that undulates with the wind or forced air (in the case of interior applications). Large panels supporting the flaps can be installed with minimal structure to create an engaging aesthetic currently not available among architectural building products.

“As one of the world’s premiere metal fabricators, we wanted to create a marquee mesh system that gives our clients an exciting new option for surface design,” said Tracy Tyler, President and CEO of Cambridge Architectural. “Whether it’s exterior cladding for a high-profile building or an installation for an engaging interior lobby, Motion Mesh creates new possibilities for architects seeking distinct design concepts. We are honored to show it off in our hometown and this important landmark greeting visitors in the heart of Chesapeake Country.”

Motion Mesh was engineered and fabricated at Cambridge’s Maryland-based headquarters. Director of Operations and Engineer Matt O’Connell, a 12-year veteran of the company, led the work.

“Our patent is based on designing a more ‘closed’ mesh choice for architects without creating increased wind load on the building,” said O’Connell. “Because the flaps move +/-90 degrees forward and backwards, wind can pass through the material. This allows architects to minimize wind load while still offering the visual density and characteristics of a less open material.”

The inaugural Motion Mesh installation in Dorchester County contains more than 1,400 laser-cut, four-inch-square stainless steel flaps. The T316 stainless is powder-coated a pearlescent white and clipped onto rods on the panel.  It rests within a 25-high frame elevated eight feet from the ground to greet visitors as they cross the Choptank River bridge on U.S. 50, the main artery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The words “Welcome” “Dorchester County” and “Water Moves Us” were fabricated by Cambridge using laser-cut stainless steel letters that are powder-coated blue and steel grey. They range from eight to 24 inches. Four ribbons of blue, green and gold powder-coated steel flow around the lower section of the sign enveloping the piece and wrapping it in a 420-degree environment.

Working with Cambridge engineers, the sign was designed by Saundra Jones, creative director for Choptank Communications, a Mid-Atlantic marketing and public relations firm.

“With its 100-foot high sail canopy soaring overhead, the Dorchester Visitor Center immediately became a distinctive landmark when it opened in 1998, said Amanda Fenstermaker, Director, Dorchester County Office of Tourism. “This takes us to the next level. We are thrilled to dedicate this beautiful new public art as a literal ‘word’ to our welcoming mantra, ‘Water Moves Us’.

Architects and designers seeking more information on how Motion Mesh can be used in prospective applications should contact Cambridge Architectural at

“Our architect and design partners are consistently seeking to evolve the nature of façades,” said David Zeitlin, Cambridge Architectural Sales Director. “Adding the element of movement to architectural mesh systems has been at forefront of many of those conversations.  Motion Mesh is the natural outcome of that collaborative feedback and continues our long tradition of developing unique and dynamic pallets for the design community to realize their ideas and visions.”


About Cambridge Architectural

Cambridge Architectural, a Rexnord brand, is the most experienced full-service provider of sustainable architectural mesh systems for interior and exterior building applications. As the world leader in tensioned mesh systems, Cambridge metal fabric solutions lend unique aesthetic appeal, functionality, affordability and sustainable benefits to a variety of structures interior and exterior. Cambridge Architectural offers full system design, engineering and collaboration from concept through installation. Cambridge’s metal fabric systems are categorized by the primary applications they serve, including parking structures, exterior shades, facades, canopies, curtains and others. As a member of the United States Green Building Council, Cambridge is committed to promoting methods, technology and products resulting in environmentally responsible and healthy buildings. Visit for more information. 


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