Irrespective of where you look – and you really don’t have to look too far – Industrial chic is everywhere in 2018. Exposed iron girders, shiny chrome fixtures and fittings and all manner of brutalist metalwork has very much been considered avant garde in recent years, and continues to attract the attentions of magpie-like homeowners. Of course there are certain scenarios where the proliferation of shiny metalwork is more likely to feel at home than some others. Like for example, dockside apartments converted from an old mill building, or an uber contemporary studio flat. But that’s not to say your very own pad can’t be transformed with the help of some of the more deft steel touches currently on the market.
And subtlety is key with the steel-formed accessories we’ve chosen below, as opposed to the more full-on assemblages which are fine in the right context, yet otherwise a bit too in-your-face for most people’s tastes. So we’re not talking about RSJs or other sizeable steel constructs which can take over a contemporary urban living space. Speaking of which, steel is being widely used in the actual construction of some properties these days, as in per se. Exterior skins as well as subframes and general infrastructures. In America the idea has really caught the public’s imagination, with many businesses reaping the benefits associated with opting for steel over more traditional materials.
One of America’s leading pre-engineered steel building systems manufacturers is Armstrong Steel, who have an expansive portfolio of commercial, corporate and industrial building projects they’ve successfully undertaken and completed, with their brand of steel covering literally everything from agricultural premises to even places of worship. But we digress a little here.
Metals being introduced and moulded according to interior solutions is nothing new, despite it becoming a fashionable addition to many homes again, and was first seen back in Medieval times; when wrought iron was brought in from the cold by noble families. Fast forwarding a few centuries and during the roaring 1920s chrome was the height of interior de rigueur, contrasted with polished mirrors. Edging closer towards the present day and the 1970s observed the works of brutalist designers forging stylistic pieces to fulfil chandelier, wall sconce, lamp and sculpture criteria, usually from sheet metal and cut with a torch. And then of course we had the 1980s – the decade of decadence – to blame/thank (delete as applicable) for gold and brass fittings which all went a little too far.
By comparison today’s metal-cast items are far more reserved and almost conservative, especially if we purposefully shy away from garishly gilt-encountered coffee tables and overtly pewter baths; and focus alternatively on the following;
- Metallic wallpapers – Very tasteful (when done properly and sparingly), with a futuristic edge
- Copper piping – Timeless and just enough Steampunkish to survive critics’ tongue-lashings
- Corrugated metal – Can be contorted into all manner of shapes for decorative and practical elements around the home
- Victorian-style cast iron radiators – Sourced from reclamation yards, and remaining eternally sophisticated
• Zinc countertops/kitchen work surfaces – Practical and stylish
June 29, 2018