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Curves excite the senses. They add emotion, drama, comfort, and wonder. Since early beginnings of architecture the arch, the dome and the vault introduced soft lines to contrast the straight walls and edges of traditional building methods.

The use of curves is still a significant trend in today’s architecture, from swirling facades to sweeping arching shapes. Think about the Burj Al Arab luxury hotel in Dubai, Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao and 2022 Al Wakrah Stadium World Cup Soccer Stadium in Qatar.

Time and time again, when people are asked to choose between an object that’s linear and one that’s curved, they prefer the latter. Our brains are hard-wired to find curves more beautiful than straight lines. But does that extend beyond consumer commodities into stimulating spaces?

Psychologist Oshin Vartanian (from the University of Toronto) conducted a study into interior architecture (with European designers), to better understand ‘Why our Brains Love Curvy Architecture’. The results showed the human brain has a natural affinity for curves, triggering a powerful emotional connection. Vartanian concluded “Curvature appears to affect our feelings, which in turn could drive our preference”.

Designers are increasingly aware that consumer choices and actions can be influenced by emotions. If continuous curves are proven to be associated with feelings of safety and harmony, they may help to create a ‘pull factor’ into a space? Of course it is all within context and application, and there is no debate around the simplicity and structure offered by straight lines. With Muros Wall Panels the straight-versus-curve argument is not relevant. Muros panels offer versatility to do either – they can be cut and jointed around symmetrical corners or continuously curve around contoured walls (radius achieved is design dependent).

The question then turns to how is this accomplished? Muros veneer wall panels offer the benefit of natural raised relief with curvature and furthermore are easily applied to most surface. The thin veneer has depth as well as flexibility meaning authentic curved walls and ceilings are achievable using Muros. The large and lightweight panels – approximately 30kg per 4m² – create vaulted ceilings without the need for expensive structural engineering and finding craftsman with appropriate masonry skills. The degree of flexibility of bend varies between design and depth of panel. The 3.3m long Muros Roughcast Concrete for example can be almost fully curved into a circle.

The majority of curved wall projects by Muros involve counter and bar fronts, stairwells, reception walls, vaulted ceilings (in wine cellars) and contoured walls in hospitality spaces. A local case study to demonstrate a hospitality/counter application is Joylab’s recently opened The Glamp Grounds at Auckland International Airport. It captures the Kiwi holiday vibe by a unique fit-out designed by Ctrl_ and installed by the Fitout Collaborative.

With a fun streak of colourful furniture at The Glamp Grounds, the backdrop needed some depth and be reminiscent of the outdoors/nature but not clash with the rainbow of colours used. More importantly the different areas within the large space needed to wrap around each other, so areas were visible and easy to access. Hence the design promoted curved high counters forming a flow from one area to the next – a challenging brief.

The client needed to “ensure the product used to line the counters was suitable for this particular application due to the curves and the required integration into joinery items”. After successful testing was completed by the fit-out specialists around the curvature of Muros panels, Muros Grey Concrete Boards were specified. The veneer panels were selected to resemble a natural product with the flexibility to line the curved low walls separating the series of spaces – both meeting the brief and evoking the emotion embedded in curves!

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