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Our Favorite Way to Create Showstopping Curved Walls

April 17, 2024

We love curves. We’re not just talking about the team here at Kerfkore, we mean humans in general love curves. It’s in our nature, from rolling hills to fruit — curves have provided humans with feelings of comfort throughout the history of humanity. 

This is especially true when compared to hard lines. Those don’t appear as often in nature, and when they do it often means danger. Dangerous terrain, the sharp teeth of predators, and pointed weapons — our history with sharp edges is much less rosy than our history with curves.

What does this have to do with curved walls? Adding curved walls to architecture or incorporating them into a fabrication project can manifest the same feelings of invitation, comfort, and safety — and change the typical to beautiful. 

Research on Curves

A 2013 study led by Oshin Vartanian at the University of Toronto found that participants were more likely to judge a space as “beautiful” if the spaces were curvy rather than straight. This experiment also included the use of an MRI machine and the researchers were able to detect activity in the region of the brain responsive to the reward properties and emotional salience of objects — which means that curved environments actually evoked an emotional response from participants. 

All of this is to say, that curves make us feel good — and while they may take more planning and effort than a plain old straight wall, they’re worth it to make truly showstopping spaces and architecture. Now, let’s talk about our favorite way to build those curved walls that will take your next project over the edge (pun intended). 

Building Curves

Let’s start from a design perspective. Below are the most commonly found types of wall curves in architecture:

  • Convex curves – curves that bend outward, such as the underside of a bowl.
  • Concave curves – a curve that bends inward
  • S curves – as the name implies, a curve shaped like the letter S

Which type of curves suit your wall design best depends on the environment you’re designing or building in and the goals of your project. Is your wall a partition, backdrop, or something else? 

Curved Wall Materials 

Building curved walls requires materials that are flexible and capable of retaining their curved shape. Wood is often the most popular choice due to its versatility, but there are other materials that can be utilized such as drywall or concrete. Of course, drywall and concrete are both more challenging and expensive to achieve curves with. At Kerfkore, this is why we recommend wood for building curved walls: 

  • Natural Aesthetics – Earlier we mentioned how curves inspire natural feelings, wood can take that same aesthetic to the next level.
  • Versatility – Wood can be shaped to form a wide range of curves, which facilitates more creative possibilities
  • Easy to Work With – Compared to other materials like drywall or concrete, wood is very easy to work with. It’s light, easy to manipulate, doesn’t require mixing to be used, and is less likely to cause a hard-to-clean mess. 
  • Traditional and Modern Aesthetic – Wood has the unique ability to work alongside traditional and modern designs. 
  • Sustainable – Wood is renewable and can be environmentally friendly when responsibly sourced. 

curved wall construction

Once you have your design and materials, next is construction. Typically, the construction starts with the frame. Here’s a great example from a project at the Art Institute of Chicago, where Kerfkore flexible architectural panels were used to create welcoming backdrop walls for a historic art installation. 

Kerfkore Timberflex panels were then attached to the framework. Kerfkore Timberflex panels feature a maximum bending radius of 5”, allowing the fabricators and designers to create the finished wall on the left. 

Too often in architecture and design walls are built with only structural considerations in mind, but the above project with the Art Institute of Chicago utilized walls as a way to draw attention and serve as a backdrop. 

finished curved wall backdrop

Are you planning on utilizing your curved wall designs as more of a star player, rather than a role player? Our Flexboard helped the University of Maryland do just that. The University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy is nicknamed the “Do Good Institute” and to highlight its commitment to values that impact the public good, the University of Maryland and Fallston Supply built the Change The World exhibit, which featured ten interactive kiosks along a curved wall that displayed “the incredible successes of the purpose-driven teams, people, projects, and initiatives and ventures creating impact on campus and beyond.” 

Photo Credit: Freed Photography for the Do Good Institute (2022)

Build Your Best Curved Wall With Kerfkore

Whether your curved walls are serving as a backdrop or are the star of the show, the team at Kerfkore can assist you with high-quality products and expertise to finish the job. Check out our full selection of flexible architectural panels to find the right curve and look for your project

Discover the right flexible panel for your project. Take the quiz to find out which of our flexible architectural panels meets the requirements for your project. Find Your Fit.


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