Adolf Loos once argued that anyone who likes ornament is either a degenerate or a fool. According to the famously ornery Austrian architect, modern buildings, cigarette cases, and human bodies should be free of decoration.
Loos must be rolling in his grave at OUT, a fun “outdoor wallpaper” made by Italian wall treatment company Wall&Deco. OUT, which stands for Outdoor Unconventional Texture, lets you inexpensively customize the facade of a building with images and patterns. Think of it as stick-on nail decals for architecture.
OUT is the creation of photographer Christian Benini and architect Gio Pagani, who say their inspiration was Gio Ponti’s famous assertion that “the most resistant material isn’t wood, or stone, or steel, or glass. It’s art.”
Their system seems fairly simple to apply. First, you slather the facade in a base layer of adhesive, as you would with wallpaper. Then, a specially printed fiber mat is laid onto the glue. A third layer differentiates OUT from indoor coverings: a resinous solution of water- and UV-resistant veneer, fluorinated to protect the graphics from air pollution, is applied to the textile. An alternative finish for spas and bathrooms offers protection against extreme humidity. Right now, there’s around a dozen designs to choose from, including an American flag, tromp l’oeil Roman numerals, and a Roy Lichtenstein-inspired face. I
“As a structural element capable of increasing the uniformity of wall surfaces, it’s ideal for renovation projects,” explain the designers. The system can adhere to non-uniform geometries and unusual facade treatments, too. OUT has obvious appeal to companies interested in outdoor advertising. Maybe it could function as a kind of medieval punishment for architects who run over budget?