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Published June 14, 2021

Simply Obsessed

Featuring: Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings


By Jen Levisen


From a school inspired by a classic sportscar, to the home of high-tech giants with a high-tech façade to match, to the most realistic iceberg outside of Antarctica, Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings proves time and time again that the possibilities are limitless. At least when it comes to color customization for metal façades. 

“We collaborate with architects, designers, and building manufacturers around the globe to help bring their visions, regardless of scale, to life in vibrant color that withstands the test of time,” says Kara Baldev, Architectural Manager, North America, Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings.

And it’s their relentless dedication to color that truly sets them apart.


For example, the Sherwin-Williams team worked for months to dial in the iridescent color-shifting façade on HOK’s 4220 Duncan’s LEED Gold offices. 


“We worked back and forth to get the right color and shift in the paint. Sherwin-Williams was a huge help on this. Their ‘mixologists’ sent numerous samples to Tim for about two months,” said Dale Bauer, project manager, Dri-Design. “The architect wanted the building to transform from a bright copper color to a patina copper color. This was very difficult as we were trying to achieve a color shift from bright like a shiny penny to dull like the Statue of Liberty.”


We asked the Sherwin-Williams team to take us behind-the-scenes on three of their most visually stunning projects, including 4220 Duncan, so we could see how obsessed with color they truly are.

4220 Duncan

Sherwin-Williams’ iridescent, color-shifting façade on 4220 Duncan’s LEED Gold offices reflects HOK’s innovative, iconic design for its high-tech tenants.

Designed by HOK, 4220 Duncan’s modern, eye-catching exterior’s unique visual effect was accomplished utilizing Valflon® Prismatic from Sherwin-Williams Coil Coating in Rose Dust II on Dri-Design’s standard and custom metal wall panels.

Valflon® Prismatic coatings are formulated with special pigmentation that allows the coatings to achieve their polychromatic look that appears to shift in color when viewed from different angles or sunlight. 

“These paints are really fun,” said HOK’s principal and senior project designer, Tim Gaidis, LEED AP BD+C. “Our use of the color-shifting paints reinforced the themes we were designing around for ‘transformational’ people and companies in the Cortex Innovation Community. The transformational paint was a perfect integrated metaphor for this transformational environment.”

Project Overview

Location: St. Louis, MO

Scope: 182,000 Square Feet, 5 stories

Innovation and Creativity: Spades

Developer: Wexford Science & Technology, LLC

Architect: HOK

General Contractor: Tarlton Corp.

Installing contractor: Hyde Sheet Metal, Inc.

Manufacturer: Dri-Design

Finisher: Metal Coaters

Coatings: Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings

Photography credits: Tom Rossiter Photography

Thaden School

Inspired by agriculture, aviation and a classic sportscar, Thaden School’s building designs were brought to life by Sherwin-Williams.

The three of the school’s newest buildings – “Reels,” “Wheels” and the performing arts center – were designed by Marlon Blackwell Architects and feature architectural coil coatings by Sherwin-Williams.

The Reels and Wheels building exteriors are finished to match the iconic 1967 Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500 sports car’s green-gold metallic finish. Sherwin-Williams provided the custom metallic color in its Fluropon® SR coating system with solar-reflective pigments. The performing arts center also presents a dynamic Fluropon white-gold coating by Sherwin-Williams. The finished metal roof and exterior wall panel systems were manufactured by Morin Corp.


To identify the perfect color for Reels and Wheels, Marlon Blackwell Architects’ principal, Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, took “a deep dive. We extensively researched the colors of the automotive industry from the ’50s and ’60s,” he said.

Their search led them to the Carroll Shelby’s 1967 Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500 and its green-gold metallic flake coating popularized by custom car painter Dean Jeffries.

“The question was how close can we get to this classic look? Working with the team at Sherwin-Williams, the challenge wasn’t so much on matching the color, but rather how much flake was needed to achieve the metallic effect,” he said.

Fluropon® SR 70% PVDF resin-based architectural coatings by
Sherwin-Williams contain solar-reflective pigments that were combined with a metallic clear coat to achieve Thaden School’s ideal finish. Today, Sherwin-Williams also offers Fluropon Effects Nova coatings providing rich, deep hues with a gold or silver sparkle.

Applied to meet the most stringent industry specification, AAMA 2605, the finished metal panels added a specialty metallic clear topcoat to maximize sparkle and enhance color intensity. The solar-reflective pigments in Fluropon SR helps to resist heat absorption, contributing to the buildings’ energy efficiency. The energy-efficient coating also supports ENERGY STAR®, U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® and Cool Roof Rating Council program criteria.

Project Overview

Location: Bentonville, AR

Master Plan Design and “Home” Building Architect: Eskew Dumez Ripple

Photography: Tim Hursley Photography

"Reels," "Wheels" and Performing Arts Center Architect: Marlon Blackwell Architects

“Reels” and “Wheels” Exterior Finish Inspo: 1967 Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500

General Contractor: Milestone Construction Company

Manufacturer (Metal Wall and Roof Panels): Morin Corp.

Coatings: Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings


"Reels" Building

Scope: 37,970 square feet

Installing Contractor (Metal Wall Panels): J.D. Day and Company

Installing Contractor (Metal Roof Panels): Schefers Roofing


"Wheels" Building

Scope: 30,285 square feet

Installing Contractor (Metal Panels): Franklin and Son, Inc.

Polk Penguin Conservation Center

Although not literally made out of ice, the exterior of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center resembles the look of an Antarctic iceberg thanks to Sherwin-Williams.

The center is designed to not only house penguins, but also reflect their natural habitat, drawing inspiration from Antarctica’s icy landscape. Opened in 2016, the state-of-the-art facility is the largest of its kind in the world and houses 83 of the aquatic birds.


“We wanted the exterior of Polk Penguin Conservation Center to capture the essence of Antarctica, the most otherworldly place on Earth,” said John Hrovat, Director of Architecture & Design, Albert Kahn Associates, Inc. “Antarctica has an ever-changing landscape due to the ice and light, and we were determined to have the center reflect this original penguin habitat as closely as possible.”

To achieve his desired look, Hrovat teamed up with Imetco, a metal panel manufacturer, and
Sherwin-Williams to create a customized iceberg exterior. Imetco supplied four different types of panels for the project. The most prominent panels are their Diamond 'D' style from their Legacy Wall Panel Systems. The high-performance, diamond-shaped metal panels are perfectly interlocked on the exterior of the center to replicate the jutting and jagged edges of Antarctic terrain. Sherwin-Williams was chosen to create a highly customized color for the metal paneling by using their advanced architectural coatings and color-matching process to find the perfect shade of white for the building.

“Color-matching is often a challenging process, but one
Sherwin-Williams truly prides itself on accomplishing,” said Jay Register, group project leader, Sherwin-Williams. “For the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, we went through several different types of coatings and color variations until we found the perfect white that fit the Antarctic vision.”

At the onset of the project, Register and the
Sherwin-Williams team planned to develop a custom color with Sherwin-Williams Fluropon Effects Kameleon, due to the advanced coating’s pearlescent and unique color-shifting finish. Despite the coating’s dynamic and innovative appearance, the sheen swayed yellow, rather than the crisp white the team was looking for.

Shifting gears, the
Sherwin-Williams team returned to the drawing board and set their sights on using Sherwin-Williams Fluropon Classic II Special SR, in order to capture a shade of white possessing hints of blue that is more visible in Antarctic snow. The finalized samples turned out flawless, emitting a piercing white color, which shields the exterior of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center. Specially named for the project, the custom shade of Fluropon Classic II Special SR was anointed “Iceberg White.”

Project Overview

Location: Detroit, MI

Scope: 33,000 square feet

Penguins: 83

Architect: Albert Kahn Associates, Inc.

Architect: MAD Architects

Metal Panel Manufacturer: Imetco

Panel Installer: C.L. Rieckhoff

General Contractor: DeMaria, Wharton Smith

Coatings: Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings


Minneapolis, MN


Architectural Manager, North America
Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings


Project Manager, Dri-Design


FAIA, Marlon

Blackwell Architects




Director of Architecture &
Design, Albert Kahn Associates


Group Project Leader, Sherwin-Williams

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