Should InvariMatte® be Nominated for an Emmy or an Oscar? 

Great architecture often becomes the backdrop in media, especially film and television. Our own InvariMatte® has been seen in both movies and television. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry used the Newtown Creek Waste facility in the background. The scene was filmed on a roof top and Contrarian Micro Texture’s InvariMatte® (used on the roof of the waste facility) was clearly visible behind the action!

The Newtown Creek Waste facility, design by architect Rafael Viroly has eight large digester eggs (145 ft. high). They are clad in stainless steel as well and to enhance their presence at night, French artist Herves Descottes was selected. He chose blue lights to contrast the orange hue of the city. This was featured in Architect’s Newspaper, the New York Times City Blog, the Brooklyn Paper and UrbanOmnibus.

The Edge of Darkness with Mel Gibson showed the Boston Convention Center in a scene. The convention center is also clad in InvariMatte®.

Los Angeles High School #9 (again InvariMatte) has been included in several television shows:

– Brothers & Sisters, in a scene where Rob Lowe (Senator Robert McCallister) and Matthew Rhys (Kevin Walker) are standing in front of the high school library shaped like a cone.

– Flash Forward, in a scene where the actors were in a conference room that overlooks the Los Angeles Unified School District High School #9.

– Castle, although set in New York City, used LA HS #9 in the background of one of it's shows last fall.
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First of It's Kind Mural in Etched Stainless Steel at University of Oregon 



The University of Oregon in Eugene showcases a first of its kind mural made of etched stainless steel that forms the image of Albert Einstein. The etched steel mosaic is comprised of photographs of Oregon student athletes that were taken by photographer, Basil Childers, who spent a year capturing the images on campus.

The sculpture graces the new John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes at UO. The center was designed to provide an array of resources, including advice, tutoring, study space and computer access – simply put, a place for student athletes to focus on academics. Much of the impetus behind the center originated with businessman Phil Knight, who saw the need for such a place and provided funding for the project.

The design was conceived by Randy Stegmeier and his collaboration with Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, Portland. Beyond the functionality of the building, the project creates a presence for the entrance to the University of Oregon campus without imposing too strongly on the surrounding city-scape. The generous use of glass creates a translucent effect and understates the visual weight of the structure itself. The Jaqua Center sports many environmentally sensitive features, including a double-walled envelope that moderates the building’s temperature in concert with water piped in from an outdoor reflecting pool.

The interior focuses on allowing the visitor a varied experience during each visit. Graphics are infused within the built environment in a subtle way; providing a richness that engages the user in a different way time and time again. The Einstein wall, for example, may require several visits before Einstein’s likeness is apparent within the mosaic.

The mural is comprised of 3,000 individual photographs of campus scenes and student athletes and is displayed in approximately 1200 sq. ft. of stainless steel provided by Contrarian Micro Textures through their partner, Tsukiboshi Art Ltd. Together the etchings of photographs form the image of Albert Einstein. Advanced computer controlled laser technology combined with sophisticated chemical etching techniques were used to create the art work.

CMT’s graphic capabilities are apparent in the crisp execution of the design team’s vision. This is a great example of how Contrarian’s knowledge and problem solving skills help designs become reality. CMT’s extensive line of interior and exterior colorized, coined, embossed and etched stainless may be used in a variety of applications and Contrarian’s product consultants are available to assist with the best choices for any project. Contrarian Micro Textures is thrilled to be a part of this cutting edge application of graphic stainless technology” explained Jim Halliday, of Contrarian Micro Textures, when he attended the opening earlier this year.
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Newly Opened Los Angeles High School #9 is Stunning to Behold 



Los Angeles, one of America’s great cities and the entertainment industry’s leader, debuted her first ever High School for the Performing Arts this September. The project began in 2001 and AC Martin & Partners were hired by the Los Angeles Unified School District to design a traditional high school. Philanthropist Eli Broad became interested and suggested an art magnet school.

He agreed to assist financially and a competition ensued to determine who would design the school. Vienna-based Studio COOP HIMMELB(L)AU was selected in 2002.

The concept of a charter school was debated among LAUSD’s superintendents and others and ultimately it was decided that competitive applications were not the answer for the school. LA HS #9 has space for over 1700 students and 1200 of them will come from the immediate area. The school is comprised of four academies, one for each art discipline. The result is a spectacular campus with three dramatic buildings that look like sculptures.

The school’s Architect Wolf D. Prix (who co-founded COOP HIMMELB(L)AU with Helmut Swiczinsky and Michael Holzer in 1968) has studied, taught and is keeping an office in LA. His design shows a vision that is inspiring and a gift for all to see. The students will be most fortunate to be in such a stimulating and creative learning environment.

Situated on 9.8 acres the three focal points are the theater, the library and the lobby. The school is part of city’s ongoing Grand Avenue project, which includes Arata Isozaki’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Jose Rafael Moneo’s Catholic cathedral, and Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The 950-seat theater is topped with a tower and helix that surrounds the tower in the shape of a sloping nine. The tower was designed to connect the school visually with downtown LA and the nearby cathedral. The cathedral and the tower together form a landmark for the city. The theater is clad in Reynobond® composite panels manufactured by Alcoa Architectural Products featuring InvariMatte®, a non-reflective stainless steel finish developed by Contrarian Micro Textures. The panels were fabricated by Riverside Group, Windsor, ON and installed by Custom Metal Fabricators.

The tower and helix are located off Highway 101 and are visible from one of the most widely used thoroughfares in the LA area. The helix is clad in an 11 gauge perforated InvariMatte stainless steel. It was fabricated and installed by Custom Metal Fabricators. The tower is covered with panels of soft reflection InvariMatte, also fabricated and installed by CMF.

The library is cone shaped and slanted with a large skylight that provides natural light as well as an environment for focused learning. The shingles of the library are InvariMatte and were fabricated and installed by Custom Metal Fabricators, Inc. Glen Meyer, CMF Project Manager explained, InvariMatte is user-friendly because no pattern matching is involved, so direction isn’t an issue, resulting in a handsome, smooth finish.”

The lobby of the school soars and opens on to Grand Avenue and serves as the public entrance. It unites the school with the Grand Avenue corridor.

The four classroom buildings form the rectangular perimeter of the schools interior courtyards. Noticeable features include large round windows to offer glimpses of the activities from the outside, to maximize natural light and offer students visual contact with the city. The main school entrance faces the community and is on the corner of Cesar Chavez and Grand Avenue and features an 80’ wide grand open stair, leading to the courtyard and library with the tower and theater in the background.

Jim Halliday, of Contrarian Micro Textures added, “Aside from the honor of having our InvariMatte product used as a featured element on this iconic project, we are pleased that we could participate in something so important to the community.”

“Rather than LEED certification, schools are covered by CHPS (Collaborative for High-Performance Schools), and LA HS #9 was rated above average,” explained Karolin Schmidbaur, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, Project Partner. Spaces with large volumes are only cooled in the areas in use, so the upper space is not cooled, rather heat is exhausted and the cool air enters from the lower level. In addition, most windows open and close to allow fresh air for space ventilation. The structural design meets the stringent requirements for seismic zone 4.

In June the school was honored with a Q Award for Quality Union Construction.

Mr. Halliday concluded, “This project is a showcase for our InvariMatte stainless steel finish. The low glare finish was an excellent choice given its proximity to the highway. We shipped four different gauges for different applications ranging from composite panels to heavy gauge perforated panels and the impressive uniformity of the finish ties the different elements together.”
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Newly Opened Los Angeles High School #9 is Stunning to Behold 



Los Angeles, one of America’s great cities and the entertainment industry’s leader, debuted her first ever High School for the Performing Arts this September. The project began in 2001 and AC Martin & Partners were hired by the Los Angeles Unified School District to design a traditional high school. Philanthropist Eli Broad became interested and suggested an art magnet school.

He agreed to assist financially and a competition ensued to determine who would design the school. Vienna-based Studio COOP HIMMELB(L)AU was selected in 2002.

The concept of a charter school was debated among LAUSD’s superintendents and others and ultimately it was decided that competitive applications were not the answer for the school. LA HS #9 has space for over 1700 students and 1200 of them will come from the immediate area. The school is comprised of four academies, one for each art discipline. The result is a spectacular campus with three dramatic buildings that look like sculptures.

The school’s Architect Wolf D. Prix (who co-founded COOP HIMMELB(L)AU with Helmut Swiczinsky and Michael Holzer in 1968) has studied, taught and is keeping an office in LA. His design shows a vision that is inspiring and a gift for all to see. The students will be most fortunate to be in such a stimulating and creative learning environment.

Situated on 9.8 acres the three focal points are the theater, the library and the lobby. The school is part of city’s ongoing Grand Avenue project, which includes Arata Isozaki’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Jose Rafael Moneo’s Catholic cathedral, and Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The 950-seat theater is topped with a tower and helix that surrounds the tower in the shape of a sloping nine. The tower was designed to connect the school visually with downtown LA and the nearby cathedral. The cathedral and the tower together form a landmark for the city. The theater is clad in Reynobond® composite panels manufactured by Alcoa Architectural Products featuring InvariMatte®, a non-reflective stainless steel finish developed by Contrarian Micro Textures. The panels were fabricated by Riverside Group, Windsor, ON and installed by Custom Metal Fabricators.

The tower and helix are located off Highway 101 and are visible from one of the most widely used thoroughfares in the LA area. The helix is clad in an 11 gauge perforated InvariMatte stainless steel. It was fabricated and installed by Custom Metal Fabricators. The tower is covered with panels of soft reflection InvariMatte, also fabricated and installed by CMF.

The library is cone shaped and slanted with a large skylight that provides natural light as well as an environment for focused learning. The shingles of the library are InvariMatte and were fabricated and installed by Custom Metal Fabricators, Inc. Glen Meyer, CMF Project Manager explained, InvariMatte is user-friendly because no pattern matching is involved, so direction isn’t an issue, resulting in a handsome, smooth finish.”

The lobby of the school soars and opens on to Grand Avenue and serves as the public entrance. It unites the school with the Grand Avenue corridor.

The four classroom buildings form the rectangular perimeter of the schools interior courtyards. Noticeable features include large round windows to offer glimpses of the activities from the outside, to maximize natural light and offer students visual contact with the city. The main school entrance faces the community and is on the corner of Cesar Chavez and Grand Avenue and features an 80’ wide grand open stair, leading to the courtyard and library with the tower and theater in the background.

Jim Halliday, of Contrarian Micro Textures added, “Aside from the honor of having our InvariMatte product used as a featured element on this iconic project, we are pleased that we could participate in something so important to the community.”

“Rather than LEED certification, schools are covered by CHPS (Collaborative for High-Performance Schools), and LA HS #9 was rated above average,” explained Karolin Schmidbaur, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, Project Partner. Spaces with large volumes are only cooled in the areas in use, so the upper space is not cooled, rather heat is exhausted and the cool air enters from the lower level. In addition, most windows open and close to allow fresh air for space ventilation. The structural design meets the stringent requirements for seismic zone 4.

In June the school was honored with a Q Award for Quality Union Construction.

Mr. Halliday concluded, “This project is a showcase for our InvariMatte stainless steel finish. The low glare finish was an excellent choice given its proximity to the highway. We shipped four different gauges for different applications ranging from composite panels to heavy gauge perforated panels and the impressive uniformity of the finish ties the different elements together.”


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Expanded Oakland Museum Transformed with Sophisticated Metals 



The expanded Art & History Galleries of California's landmark Oakland Museum were transformed to re-emphasize the structural beauty and add sleek, handsome strength using a lightweight steel structure clad in stainless steel with clerestory windows, and adding stainless steel canopies with skylights over the central staircase.

The Oakland Museum of California renovation and expansion, which re-opened in May 2010, re-emphasizes the structural beauty of the original design which debuted in 1969. The museum was originally designed by architect Kevin Roche of Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates and is an excellent example of post-World War II modernism. The facility integrates landscape architecture with the design and offers Oakland a green oasis across a 7.7-acre site in the heart of downtown Oakland. This design facilitated OMCA’s goal of integrating art, history and natural science, usually separate entities into one cohesive, inclusive place.

The museum seeks a strong connection between California’s cultural and environmental significance and wants to enhance visitor connection and participation. “As the Museum of California, we are moving toward a more participatory exhibition model that encourages visitor engagement and feedback,” said Lori Fogarty, OMCA’s executive director. “Just as California is not a fixed place but constantly evolving, this museum is embracing change and openness to new ideas. It’s in our DNA.”

Visitors will learn about the state on many levels including history, natural resources, art and how California as a society evolved and continues to change and grow. The galleries are organized on three levels and integrate the outdoors with the flow of the museum. The roof of one gallery becomes the terrace of another and all are accessed by one central staircase. As the museum grew its needs evolved and in 1999 the museum retained Mark Cavagnero Associates of San Francisco to embark on a needs assessment and master plan to design the additional space and necessary infrastructure required for the future of the museum.

The transformation of the Art & History Galleries added 5600 square feet of new gallery space and introduced a new 90-foot stainless steel canopy at the main Oak Street entrance to welcome visitors. The expanded galleries were transformed by enclosing existing outdoor terraces using a lightweight steel structure clad in stainless steel with clerestory windows. Stainless steel canopies with skylights over the central staircase were also added as part of this phase of work.

Mark Cavagnero Associates Architects of San Francisco set out to complement the original design while expanding its size and use. For example, one of the requirements, the Oak Street entrance, features a new canopy that is clad with stainless steel. The result is sleek, sophisticated and the stainless steel adds handsome strength to the design while differentiating itself from the original.

The goal was to clearly define that entrance on Oak Street. The entrance needed to be consistent with the original design yet clearly identify the main entrance. “Designing the canopy in stainless steel gives it a specular quality that clearly defines a sense of arrival,” explained architect John Fung of Mark Cavagnero Associates.

“One expectation of the project was that no fasteners be exposed on the canopy which creates a look of perfection,” added Dave Wenner, President of NV Heathorn, the fabricator involved in the renovation. “Contrarian Micro Textures’ InvariMatte® is the stainless steel that we used; it has a consistent quality and an excellent finish.” Overly Manufacturing, Greensburg, PA, produced the InvariMatte® roof panels for the project.

The project addresses the transformational needs of the museum while complementing the original design. The museum is a City of Oakland landmark and all new work follows the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties as well as the City’s landmark ordinance. The idea is to enhance the existing building while distinguishing itself from the original. The OMCA renovation achieved a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification from the United States Green Building Council for the many green building practices and design elements achieved in the design.

Currently in design is the second phase of the project which will renovate and transform the Natural Sciences Gallery and provide new education amenities.

The museum’s goal was to create a more participatory environment with visitors and the Gallery of California Art, the Gallery of California History and the Gallery of California Natural Sciences.

“California’s geography has been a major source of the state’s cultural dynamism. The state is mostly coastline and borders that open to the world. The immediate cities around the museum, Oakland and San Francisco are port cities, active, porous and poised to receive and circulate a great mix of global populations, goods, ideas and cultural influences,” said Rene de Guzman, senior curator of art at OMCA. “By transforming our collections galleries into spaces filled with ongoing activity and change, the Oakland Museum will better reflect the range of ideas that give California its vitality. Our goal is to strengthen our public’s connection to California’s cultural and environmental significance.”
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