From The Lord of The Rings film sets to winning Best Architectural Product at NYCxDesign. This is our story.
In amongst the hustle and bustle of the numerous battle scenes in The Lord of The Rings movie trilogy, you might only see each the chainmail garments worn by Aragorn, Gimili and the hundreds of Orcs on screen for a millisecond, but each shirt contained 80,000 handwoven rings made with an electroplated polypropylene plumbing tube coated in pure silver. This was nicknamed ‘Kayne’s-mail’ by actor Viggo Mortensen — in reference to Kayne Horsham, the film’s creature, armour, and weapons art director.
The slow process to create each garment ready for the cameras, looking authentic, but weighing less than traditional chain mail was a time consuming process. Horsham knew there had to be a better way. Over the next six years Horsham created and patented an injection molding process to mass produce lightweight polycarbonate chainmail — named ‘Kaynemaile’ in honor of Mortensen’s nickname thrown Kayne’s way through LoTR. Although, instead of producing chainmail for movies and fashion, he decided to make it for architects—dividing interiors and protecting exteriors.
The lightweight nature of the mesh is one of the reasons architects and engineers are so excited about the material. It can be used in place of steel sheets or mesh dramatically reducing the static load on buildings – not to mention the installation times – reducing project costs. The mesh is also extremely effective at keeping the sunlight out – while keeping visibility clear. It reduces the solar energy entering a building by 70% - great for car parking buildings who also want to keep airflow high. The mesh is UV stabilized, so won’t melt or go brittle, its fire-resistant and stronger but lighter than glass.
Due to these features, Kaynemaile architectural mesh has been used in a broad range of projects globally – from carpark facades, to interior office dividers, to airport security screening and art installations in Times Square.
The mesh is also recyclable and Kaynemaile has adopted a cradle-to-cradle ethos meaning the mesh can be infinitely recycled in-house due to its virgin composite make up. The colours used in the mesh are also carbon-based, meaning they too can be stripped out (using low-energy processes).
Chainmail: 2000 years of design
Protecting us for 2000 years. From Knights in battle to modern peace keeping and now Art & Architecture. This is the development of chainmail and the introduction of Kaynemaile.
1200—600 BCE: The Iron Age
During the Iron Age era, chainmail was invented. Relegated to Royalty, Noblemen and protectors of the crown due to it being extremely expensive and difficult to produce—often taking a lifetime to create and assemble one shirt of hand-forged iron links.
1200—600 BCE: Era of Mythology
If a nobleman walked from a battle unharmed, sword intact, it was considered wizardry—it was these early protective technologies (chainmail armor) and improved metallurgy (swords that didn’t break), where the mythologies of historical immortals in battle have emerged—Tolkien’s, The Lord of the Rings is a classic example of this.
5th—15th Century CE: The era of the Knight
Due to industrialization, chainmail became more accessible through the Middle Ages. Chainmail was widely used by lower-ranking soldiers—even if they had one arm piece—it offered effective articulated protection.
14th Century CE: Plate Armour takes charge
Due to the high cost of Chainmail production and the invention of the Long Bow, plate armor was commonly supplemented for areas that don’t articulate. Chainmail continued to be used in areas of high movement, arms, legs, necks etc.
1979: Shark Protection
Shark expert and underwater filmmaker Valerie Taylor was amongst the first to develop and test shark suits made from chainmail in 1979 while diving with sharks.
1990: Combination ballistic and stab proof vests
Modern protective vests for police and military include chainmail.
1999: Chainmail in Film—The Lord of the Rings
New Zealander, Kayne Horsham (artistic director for Creatures, Armor and Weapons) invented a lightweight plastic version of chainmail for costumes, coated in pure silver and extensively used in the filming of LOTR. Actors such as Viggo Mortensen nicknamed this “Kayne’s-mail”.
2002: Liquid state assembly process successfully developed
After a previous failed attempt in 2001, Kayne was successful in producing a liquid state assembly process for lightweight chainmail—a world first. This invention effectively took chainmail out of the Iron Age and into the 21st century world of modern material science. Kaynemaile was born.
2006: Art & Architectural applications identified
Kaynemaile Ltd was formed and commercialized the lightweight polycarbonate chainmail. Used to form, beautify and protect interior and exterior environments globally—humanizing hard spaces.
We're here to help.
We're happy to answer your questions. From product information to technical assistance. Call us, send us an email, or fill in our enquiry form.
New Zealand HQ +64 4 473 4989
Australia Free Call +1 800 231 153
USA Free Call +1 855 387 5440