Architectural Moodboards: Natural Metal

One of the questions we get asked all the time at Dissimilar is “how do your metals look next to mass timber, or concrete, or other materials? So we’ve created over a dozen moodboards showing our natural metal panels next to various building materials.

Architectural Moodboards: Natural Metal

15+ Beautiful Moodboards that you can use to explore different looks in your projects.

DMD Editor | Dissimilar Metal Design
Article Updated May 21, 2024

One of the questions we get asked all the time at Dissimilar is “how do your natural metals products look next to mass timber, or concrete, or other materials?

Determining how one material will vibe with another is everything. So we thought — let’s pull together all the materials that we’ve seen and more and create some architectural moodboards.

Below we’ve created several moodboards that show our preweathered metal surfaces next to various building materials. You’ll find a number of materials you’ve seen before, and some you haven’t.

Why moodboards?

In architecture, one of the best ways to bring your clients and collaborators into your vision is through touch and feel. Creating a mood board is a great way to quickly explore your design, all while showcasing the tactile nature of your materials.

The Benefits of Natural Metals

DMD has decades of experience in pre-weathering metals to develop strong protective patina coatings. These coatings serve two primary purposes: protecting the material from degradation, and providing an elegant aesthetic. Dissimilar offers several maturity options for each of the materials shown below. 

In this article, you’ll find:

  • A collection of beautiful moodboards featuring DMD weathering steel, zinc, brass, copper, and stainless steel with various construction and aesthetic materials.
  • Each of these moodboards can be used as an expressive tool in your design process, or to inspire new uses of natural material for your clients.

Moodboards are also an incredible tool, because they are an example of expansive design, opening up new possibilities quickly. Many designers start with a moodboard as part of the design process. So we wanted to add some examples that can help designers explore our material.

15+ Moodboards with Natural Metals

Below we’ve highlighted a number of material palettes that work well with both preweathered and raw weathering steel. Open the images below to view as a slideshow.

Millennium Grey

The robust, stoic presence of blackened brick and concrete is softened by the vitality of green foliage. This modern aesthetic uses weathering steel’s earthy orange to breath warmth into the cool, muted tones of slate and charcoal. Perfect for creating spaces that reflect strength and permanence while inviting calm and tranquility, the moodboard suggests a design ethos where resilience is harmoniously intertwined with natural serenity.

Steel Serenity

This moodboard shows DMD Blackened Stainless with warm wooden slats, speckled concrete with fine pores, and smoothed gray concrete, each adding a raw, elemental feel. A polished white Corian tile offers a sleek, modern touch, while a textured granite tile anchors the composition with its robust, granular surface. Completing the ensemble are botanical elements—a succulent and a frond of fern—injecting life and a dash of green into the industrial palette.

Brass Harmony

This architectural moodboard includes a textured slab of raw gray concrete, lush forest green ceramic tiles, and a beautifully aged brass panel with a patina made by Dissimilar. The board also features a black slate tile with understated elegance, alongside a frosted glass tile in sea green that hints at tranquility.

Woodland Steel

This moodboard draws from the serene depths of a redwood forest, combining weathered steel with natural elements. Textured slabs reminiscent of forest paths lie alongside panels bearing the patina of time. Smooth river stones, cool and tactile, punctuate the scene, grounding the composition in earthiness. Greenery in the form of delicate fern fronds and hardy moss adds a whisper of life, echoing the forest’s understory. Striking the balance between man-made resilience and the ephemeral delicacy of nature, this moodboard is a narrative of textures and tones that tells a story of tranquil strength.

Cupric Moss

This modern copper moodboard fuses natural and modern elements, creating a visually striking composition. It features rich minimalist textures alongside a variegated stone. The inclusion of a green patinated DMD Weathered Copper adds a touch of weathered elegance. Concrete, tile and stone samples in neutral tones provide a sturdy, grounded feel, with tree sprigs and natural wildflowers to set the tone.

Timbered Steel

This vision board illustrates the melding of mass timber’s warmth with the strength of weathering steel. The wood’s rich tones lay a foundation of natural serenity, while the steel’s robust, russet surface offers a dance of color and texture. Clear and frosted glass provide a window into the potential of transparent design elements, adding to the narrative of natural light. Nestled within, the verdant juniper speaks to sustainable designs that embrace living elements. This moodboard is a tribute to eco-friendly architectural innovation, celebrating the synergy between renewable timber and aged steel.

Verdant Patina

This moodboard displays a serene and textured arrangement, blending both organic and industrial aesthetics. DMD Weathered Copper captivates with its blue-green finish Various stone and concrete samples add a natural, rugged texture. A simple, clean white tile offers a minimalist contrast, while a panel of warm, polished wood grounds the collection with a rich, organic feel.

Farm to Zinc

This moodboard showcases Dissimilar’s preweathered zinc, with its softly mottled gray surface. Alongside this natural surface, a collection of wooden slats and minimalist white tile offers a clean, subdued backdrop. Completing the arrangement is a simple beige porous stone tile, adding an earthy, tactile element. Three stalks of golden wheat are artfully placed, lending an agricultural, serene vibe to the collection.

Industrial Growth

The raw beauty of materials transformed by time and elements. This moodboard celebrates the aged finesse of weathering steel in its various states of age: from raw mill-finish steel, to the burnt oranges, variegated textures, and deep umbers in its impermeable state. Its iconic rust-like appearance seals the steel against further corrosion. The board arranges an array of corten samples, each with varying degrees of patina, alongside complementary materials like stone and concrete that share a similarly earthy color palette.

Brass & Bordeaux

This moodboard marries the rustic with the refined. It features a central panel of DMD Weathered Brass, whose rich patina offers a history-laden texture. Stained wood provides a warm, earthy foundation. Additionally, a striking panel of red textured fabric adds a vibrant, tactile contrast, bringing a bold color accent to the natural palette. A few delicate, dried grasses, subtly placed, lend an organic, airy touch to the ensemble.

Tranquil Space

This mood board tells a story of balance and serenity. The simplicity of modern design meets the calm of nature. Featuring an array of tactile materials such as weathering steel, speckled terrazzo, and smooth ceramic platters, it evokes a sense of grounded elegance.

DMD weathering steel’s adjacency to natural elements, like a leaf from a Dragon Tree and the silvery foliage of a Eucalyptus, adds a layer of organic beauty. Added together, these elements represent a neutral space where terracotta planters grace sleek terrazzo floors. And as a finishing touch, hand-thrown ceramics sit on surfaces as a celebration of artisanal craft.

Eclectic Collection

A symphony of organic textures and industrial tones, blending the warmth of rust-toned weathering steel with the cool freshness of botanical elements. Here, the robust, terracotta-like surfaces of weathering steel panels interplay with delicate leaf patterns of tropical plants, such as the heart-shaped anthurium and the variegated patterns of Caladium leaves. Amidst these natural inspirations, architectural materials like textured concrete and laminated bamboo flooring hint at sustainable design practices.

Earthen Allure

Earthy Allure presents a textural symphony where the warm tones of weathering steel meet the sandy hues with a Palm Springs midcentury modern. Terracotta bowls and wooden touches echo the warmth of the steel, while the creamy whites of porcelain provide a soft counterpoint. A spiky desert plant injects life, its sharp lines mirroring the verticality of the rusted metal sheets. This vision board captures the essence of a design palette that is grounded, yet vibrant. Get ready to inspire spaces that are both nurturing and bold.

Modern Tropics

In this vision board, playful bold shapes and architectural metal affect the softness of tropical greenery. The centerpiece is a Monstera leaf resting against a backdrop that contrasts textures from smooth, matte terracotta to the industrial edges of foam and precast concrete. Touches of marble and weathering steel introduce a sophisticated palette that speaks of urban jungles. The bright yellow accent mirrors sunlight, invigorating the composition, while the geometric interplay of circles and angular shapes creates a dance between man-made precision and organic asymmetry.

Weathering Teal

In this moodboard, verdigris on DMD Copper contrasts with polished walnut and weathering steel. Dried botanicals such as sea holly and ornamental grass bring whispers of wild coastal dunes. Every piece creates an ambiance that’s at once raw and refined, an ode to places where the waves kiss the shore, and where the strength of steel holds fast against the sands of time. This moodboard celebrates the fusion of resilient textures with the ephemeral beauty of seascapes, perfect for invoking tranquility in architectural spaces that seek to harmonize with the elements.

Mélange of Earth

This moodboard is an opulent exploration of textures and tones. It brings together the patina of weathering steel with the luxury of marble. Stained wood textures introduce an organic touch, while geometric metal work adds an ornate, modern twist. Pops of vibrant green malachite infuse color, alongside classic terrazzo samples with stone chips. Translucent and frosted glass pieces lend a play on light and space, and vertical metal slats suggest a sleek, structural rhythm. Completing the scene are spherical elements of dried plant material, contributing a raw, natural finish. Together, these elements weave a narrative of contrast and harmony.

Get Samples to Touch & Feel

Moodboards are just one of the resources that we’re offering here. Here, too are several tools below to integrate our material digitally into our project. We also offer samples for qualified projects:

These natural materials provide a vivid and tactile method of visual storytelling. Copper, brass, and steel each have a versatility in tones that accentuate their inherent beauty and versatility. Each metal brings its unique patina, texture, and color to the forefront. This allows designers and architects to experiment with a range of visual effects, from the warm, inviting glow of copper to the cool sophistication of steel.

In addition, these moodboards highlight the aesthetic qualities of the metal in contrast with more austere surfaces like concrete. And their functional aspects make them a cornerstone in the design process for building facades and interiors. We hope that through the creative assembly of these material moodboards, designers are able to get a sense of new ways to complement these materials in future projects.