Dynamics of Metal Surfaces

Although it’s normally colour I look at, today I am taking a look at metals and their various properties.

I am currently working on a large semi derelict building which reeks of character and punches it’s industrial past at you straight between the eyes. The space will become an edgy new restaurant, its colour palette nodding to its industrial past (the decayed properties of the space make it very alluring ), but should also transport visitors to a new set of urban aesthetics. The building has attitude and the colours and surfaces must acknowledge this.

Our chosen colour palette may require some metallic “lift” so I need to consider various properties that metals can display. Polished metal  has a high light reflective value (LRV) an effect which is magnified when placed next to a dark colour. If for example a gold panel is hung on a black wall, the gold will appear particularly bright. The black wall will absorb light and the gold panel will reflect light so the gold’s will appear luminous in contrast to the black which is absorbing the light.

Placing a reflective metal on a dark background will  make the edges of the metal more defined and the metal will appear “contained”, smaller but very bright. If you place the gold panel on a white background however, the gold panel will appear larger because the gold will “spill” or “grow” onto the surrounding lighter surface.

I also need to consider the “temperature” of metals. Silver is “cooler” than gold although it can be “warmed up” if used next to black. However, place silver against white and its “temperature” drops like a stone.

Silver is also highly influenced by surrounding colours and will actively seek out and reflect other colours in the room – much more so than gold. The Tony Cragg sculpture below is reflecting an adjacent yellow sculpture – also a Tony Cragg piece – presumably the curator has positioned the sculptures carefully in order to create another interactive dimension to the art work.

So now I have considered some of the dynamic properties of metal, I can’t wait to mix them into the equation and use them to breath another dimension into the project – a project I hope to post more on in the coming weeks.

Copper and Interiors

Have you noticed how many shop fittings are currently manufactured in copper?

Copper was big news last year with product designers such as  Tom Dixon  using it and the Milan Furniture Fair was certainly awash with it. What is interesting this year is that it is appearing in architectural trims and shop fittings.

Copper columns and door trims  can be seen in the new extension at Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Mannequins in John Lewis department store are given an updated look as they stand proud on brand new copper catwalks. The list goes on and on….

David Oliver has long since been an advocate of metallics as they can, “create a quietly glamorous environment, which is sophisticated and fashionable”. He has created a paint finish “gilver” which is a mix of both gold and silver “a timeless classic”. Valtti also have a range of metallic paints, one of which is distinctly copper- like in appearance.

Copper can help create an “industrial chic” interior especially when used with exposed brickwork and deep graphite paints. But it works equally well in vintage settings – specifying a copper bath  could be the starting point.  Or, if you are after inspiration for extensive architectural interior cladding, have a look at the Canadian Copper and Brass Development Association gallery – it’s certainly an adaptive material which spans many different interior styles.