Steel The Show: Alternative Uses for Sheet Metal
What does the phrase ‘sheet metal‘ mean to you? Correct us if we’re wrong, but we’re guessing it conjures up cold, possibly rusty images of big bits of cars, farm buildings, maybe the odd fire escape. As one of the most versatile, durable and often aesthetically-pleasing materials available, though, sheet steel is capable of so much more than just the functional stuff it’s famous for. Recently, we’ve been blown away by some of the incredible creations our clients have come up with using our steel. Inspired by their ideas and the innovative designs of others around the world, we hunted down some of the most exciting, alternative uses for sheet metal. You don’t have to be metal geeks like us to get it, honestly. Just scroll down and see for yourself: this is metal like you’ve never seen it before.
Art with Sheet Metal
Free by Eddie Roberts
Corten steel is clever stuff: it develops a ‘rusty’ crust that not only looks incredible, but also protects the precious metal within (OK, we’re not talking gold here, but as far as we’re concerned. steel is just as fabulous.) No wonder, then, that it’s the material of choice for an increasing number of artists like Eddie Roberts, who, like us, hails from the north of England. Free, the sculpture above, was made in Australia and made it to the finals of the Yering Station Winery Sculpture Award, before finding a permanent home at Melbourne’s Holmesglen Institute.
For his latest project, Eddie worked a little closer to home, in Sheffield, which is very aptly AKA The Steel City. He was commissioned to make a sculpture for the Mercure Hotel, sited across the road from the world-famous Crucible snooker venue. We were thrilled when Eddie chose us as the supplier of Corten steel for his stunning sculpture, Fallen Colour (below). He carefully hand-cut and folded every single leaf, before enhancing each one to its glorious rusting point. Could there be a more perfect material for capturing the gorgeous colours of autumn? Maybe we’re biased, but we think not.
Fallen Colour by Eddie Roberts
It’s not just Corten steel that does the job for artists: galvanised steel, hot-rolled steel and Zintec steel boast the same durability and industrial good looks. Eddie isn’t the only artist to appreciate the value of our sheet metal for the creation of beautiful art, either: we are proud suppliers of sheet metal to London Sculpture Workshop. A not-for-profit, community interest company, it’s London’s first open-access metal studio and the perfect place to get stuck into some sculpture making. In addition to this, we are also suppliers of steel sheet to the world famous Royal College of Art.
We love this Corten steel masterpiece, Te Tuhirangi Countour by Richard Serra, a great ribbon 56 sheets of steel, snaking through the lush pastures of Gibbs Farm, New Zealand.
Sticking with New Zealand, this beautifully ornate bird shows what you can do with a sheet of Corten and some clever cut-working skills. The bird stands on the Mahurangi riverfront promenade in Warkworth, raising awareness of the area’s unique bird life.
If you thought steel tread plate was just for stairs, you’d be mistaken. Artist David McCracken created this breathtaking, balloon-like structure called Tread Lightly using durbar steel (the textured stuff you often see on stairs.) Yet another artistic use of stainless steel, on display in Stoneleigh, New Zealand.
Meanwhile, a little closer to home in Brighton, this Corten steel sculpture is one of many all over the UK, marking out the National Cycle Network, proving sheet metal’s worth when it comes to public art.
Inside / out
The trend for everything industrial means that metal is one of the most in-demand materials for architecture and interior design. It all ties in perfectly with the mid-century and seventies revival. This sleek, modular sofa combines mild steel with leather to evoke a seventies look inspired by the insect world.
Big favourite Corten steel makes a stylish, lasting cladding for any building. Madrid’s Caixa Forum cultural centre, pictured above, mixes bright orange rust with a living wall for a striking effect. This year, we were honoured to be the supplier for the refurbishment of The Western, a stylish bar and pub in Brighton, shown below. Designers married the steel sheet with neon lights and succulent plants for a modern, industrial look. The theme continues on to the inside, where our sheet metal was also used to make the most important part of the building: the bar.
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