Main image: Rock on a slope, photo credit: ©lelia_milaya Twenty20

Texture is experienced through touch, but in the case of surfaces, the focus is ironically mainly on colour Mostly, you already know how it will feel on your skin before physically touching it. Texture is becoming increasingly significant. The facade design pattern and how the surface feels are critical when creating spaces.

It is becoming increasingly important to concentrate on using texture, from an aesthetic aspect, and from the perspective of how it will affect the users’ emotions. We know that parametric design can incorporate texture and materials other than concrete to direct the eye visually and create soothing or adventurous experiences.

The role of textures

The visual texture that our eyes perceive can stimulate significant responses. A smooth texture can convey a sense of peace, whereas an irregular geometric pattern might feel more dynamic in activity. Texture is crucial for the items and furnishings used in interior design, but also plays a role in architecture – in different spaces and enclosing these spaces. Texture has quite an implication, but is so subtle that it is often not noticed or experienced in the space. 

Understanding how light interacts with textured surfaces, adds another degree and depth to design. Shiny textures, reflect light and make a space appear brighter and cleaner. In contrast, rustic and natural textures such as wood, stone and fuzzy materials create warmer and inviting spaces.

Textures and emotions

By creating contrast, interest is stimulated because you recognise it easier when placed with a contrasting one, as your eyes are drawn to the difference which spikes your interest. An excellent example is the Rock on a Slope by Unterlandstättner Architekten, an extension to a simple house.

The residential extension cleverly uses textures. Outside the glass are rough surfaces closer to nature, while the inside is smooth and clean. There is a definite transition: a distinct step away is present with rugged walls and broken stone tiles leading to pebbles into nature. On the inside, one immediately feels ease and a sense of peace.

Leading the eyes with colour and texture

Yale Building by Paul Rudolph_©Richard Barnes

Using the exact colour tones but distinct textures is a subtle approach to direct the eye using texture. The architect employed three different materials in the same hue to lead the eye in the Palazzo Medici in Florence, ranging from the roughest to a smooth texture on top.

The shift from the bold and edge-cut masonry of the ground floor to the finer stonework of the third storey makes the structure seem more elevated, as the eye wanders upward to the cornice that tops and clearly defines the building’s form.

One material can create different moods

Concrete takes on the shape of the mould into which it is poured and can produce a variety of textures. Coarse, medium and smooth patterns in concrete can be created. Casting in wooden floats imparts a grainy texture, and aluminium or steel tends to give medium and fine ones. Outer joints from pouring concrete in different stages can be used as texture to highlight the distinction between levels.

Paul Rudolph’s Art and Architecture Building at Yale University depicts how concrete may have an abrasive and striking texture that creates emphasis when combined with components of polished concrete.

Texture in parametric design

Designers seek to create more parametric designs and open spaces, and texture can help to achieve this goal.

Ckk Jordanki by Fernando Menis, situated in the historical backdrop of Torun, is an example. The “rock” shape flows from the urban surroundings to the park. Interiors vividly represent the dramatic walk one takes from the admiringly polished facade to the raw natural surroundings. The white glossy concrete exteriors contrast with the chipped red brick and concrete interiors.

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to for the information in this editorial.

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