The process of creating chainmail hasn’t changed much over the last few thousand years. When artist Kayne Horsham first began designing the chainmail worn by the dwarves, elves, and orcs in the Lord of the Rings movies, he settled for links that had to be connected by hand. He’s since come up with a weaving process that’s faster, cheaper, and applicable on a much larger scale.
As Co.Design reports, Kaynemaile, a new type of building material, was inspired by Kayne Horsham’s time as creature, armor, and weapons art director for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. To assemble the chainmail used in costumes, the New Zealand-based designer and his crew made millions of rings out of plastic and joined them together one by one. The fully-linked garment was then dipped in silver to give it an authentic look.
It wasn’t until the series ended that Horsham came up with an approach that was both convenient and cost-effective. For his new technique, he uses an injection molding process that churns out massive sheets of polycarbonate chainmail. The material is lighter and stronger than glass, takes little energy to produce, and is completely recyclable. And it has 21st century uses outside of fantasy films and Renaissance fairs—Horsham is marketing the material as an “architectural mesh” to drape over the facades of buildings.
A sheet of Kaynemaile can be installed to block sunlight and keep a building’s interior cool during the summer months. It also protects parking complexes and exterior staircases against wind and rain. Indoors, smaller Kaynemaile screens can divide rooms and provide privacy in open office spaces.
Horsham’s creation was recently named best new architectural product at the NYCxDesign Awards. As part of the prize, he’s created an installation of different colored Kaynemaile that’s on display in Times Square in Manhattan through May 22. The material will appear on the streets of New York City once more in the form of art pieces adorning certain bridges and tunnels. You can watch video of a prototype designed for the Queensboro Bridge below.