Outdoor Panel Design Created to Stand the Test of Time 17th February 2022 | IN EXPERT INSIGHT | BY SBID

In this week’s interview with 2021 SBID Awards winners for the Outdoor Product Design category, Belgard, discusses key industry changes, gives advice for designing outdoor spaces and introduces more of their innovative outdoor products.

SBID Awards Category: Outdoor Product

Practice: Belgard

Entry: Artforms/Artex

outdoor panel design, Outdoor Panel Design Created to Stand the Test of Time

How important is it to enter the SBID Awards & receive industry recognition for your work? What are the benefits?

Joe: We certainly appreciate the visibility that comes from receiving international industry recognition for our work. Beyond marketing opportunities, an award of this magnitude is very exciting for Belgard because it validates our approach to design, as we are transforming our portfolio to be much more design centric. It is also important to us to tell the story behind our products.

It’s recognition like the SBID awards that will help us connect to local architect and design communities across the world. This is helpful as we look to launch the Artforms system in Europe next year.


What do you think made this particular design an award winner?

Joel: From a research and development perspective, Artforms’ design is a game changer. It is the first modular concrete panel system that can be used in a variety of applications for outdoor living spaces. The modularity of the system offers simplicity and a modern design that contractors around the world are looking for today.

Joe: The innovative approach behind the flexibility and versatility of Artforms directly aligns with current outdoor living design trends. It provides a clean, contemporary look, which was historically very expensive and time consuming to achieve, in a new, more cost-effective way.

outdoor panel design, Outdoor Panel Design Created to Stand the Test of Time

What was the design concept behind the Artforms modular panels? What does the solution aim to achieve?

Joel: The thought process behind the Artforms concept was to create larger format panels that can be installed vertically to maximize efficiency. The modular design also achieves the simplicity that aligns with ongoing trends in outdoor living design.

Previous techniques needed to achieve a more modern, linear aesthetic were extremely labor intensive. Artforms modular design provides the ideal aesthetic result in a fraction of the time and cost.

outdoor panel design, Outdoor Panel Design Created to Stand the Test of Time

With the burgeoning trend of indoor-outdoor living on the rise, what advice can you give designers when approaching outside spaces as an extension of the interior environment?

Joe: My advice for designers approaching outdoor spaces is that it’s critical to consider the connection with the home and how both spaces function together. People often look at it as separate environments, but the best designs blur the line and make a physical and visual connection with the exterior. When you look at materials especially, if you’re able to pull interior materials outdoors or vice versa to make sure it ties into the architecture and flow of the home, that is where we see the most success. Artforms goes a long way toward achieving that. With interior design trending more modern, Artforms extends that flow to the exterior.

Joel: Interior design trends tend to move faster when compared to outdoor living design, which usually adapts as it follows slowly behind interior trends. We saw the trend of larger format and concrete design becoming more popular and were able to predict this now ideal modular design bleeding into the backyard. The concrete look is popular indoors, with many iterations of porcelain tile with a concrete look that can be easily matched to Artforms in outdoor spaces.

outdoor panel design, Outdoor Panel Design Created to Stand the Test of Time

Now that you’ve won an SBID Award, what are the next steps? Is there anything new you are excited to be working on?

Joel: Artforms as a system, has a few next steps as we roll out a variety of applications, parts and new finishes/textures that are easily integrated into this system for personalized configurations. These additional compatible features allow the modularity to extend into the whole outdoor space with one comprehensive design. One example is the privacy panel that is part of the Artforms ecosystem.

Belgard continues to make outdoor living spaces more efficient and functional, especially with the increased interest from homeowners. We want to be able to offer all the products and features to outdoor living spaces complete and feel like “home.” Our new Elements line of products fills this need. In addition to our modular outdoor fire features and grill islands, Elements is also a collection of stainless appliances and fixtures including cooking, storage, bar and sink accessory features that make outdoor living areas – specifically kitchen and dining spaces – feel complete.

Looking at what’s next, we’re excited to share our patented system with select communities in Europe within the next year. Artforms is currently available in the United States, Canada (Artforms/Artex), and Belgium (Moodul Creation).

outdoor panel design, Outdoor Panel Design Created to Stand the Test of Time

What advice can you give to young designers starting out in the design industry?

Joe: Designers often get caught up on the artistic side of design or focus too much on products, creating a narrowed approach. My advice for young designers would be to not prioritize your personal goals. Understanding the consumers’ needs and lifestyle is critical, and you can work from that point to create the perfect design. If you can integrate new ideas, that’s great, but only if it’s the right fit. There is no need to push a certain look at the expense of the consumers.

Questions answered by Joe Raboine, Director of Residential Hardscapes, and Joel Remillard, R&D Hardscape Group Leader, Belgard.

Joe Raboine
Joe Raboine
Joel Remillard
Joel Remillard

Since 1995, Belgard’s locally made and nationally backed products have transformed thousands of residential and commercial properties across North America. They strive to improve our products by spending more than 20,000 hours in research and development every year. Perfecting new products keeps them aligned to current design trends and places Belgard on the cutting edge of manufacturing techniques and technologies.

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If you missed last week’s Interview with the category Office Design winner 4 SPACE Design, click here to read it.