Hard Materials V


Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel is a metal alloy made of steel along with other elements including 10.5% chromium. Other additions added to the steel when it is in the electric furnace before it is moulded into shape,  include carbon, silicon and manganese which help strengthen and toughen the texture of the material. The chromium used adds a thin layer of oxide on the surface of the stainless steel, this is known as the ‘passive layer’ and it enhances the corrosion, scratch and tarnish resistance to the material.

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Stainless Steel is a hard-wearing, stain resistant material that is very uncomplicated to keep clean. For these reasons it most commonly featured within kitchen design, often as the splashbacks or counter tops as well as the sinks, taps and other utensils. A bold shine without being completely reflective creating an industrial and brutalist style within the home.

Snohetta showcases brushed stainless steel in the retail space they designed using stainless steel for the cashier desk, creating a sleek and elegant piece.

A versatile material that has a streamlined and sparkling appearance, most suited to modern, contemporary and minimalistic interior design. Stainless steel became a popular material of choice in the 1960s and 70s adding warmth and sheen to any given space. A truly dynamic addition to interior design, stainless steel has multiple uses and adds a touch of quality and lightness to any room.


Stainless steel is a more expensive option therefore it is often used sparingly in the home and can be featured as an accent piece. A boundless addition to an urban home, having stainless steel details such as drawer pulls table and chair legs. Due to the flexible and malleable nature of Stainless Steel it can be shaped into almost any mould and can often create sculptural designs like that of Dutch designer Aldo Bakker who created a range of table ware for Georg Jensen. The curved, angular and linear shapes such as the drinks pitcher are moody, modern and showcase the subtly stunning elements of Stainless Steel. However this material is often used for larger pieces of furniture as well where modern fluid design is complimented by the neat and refined appearance of stainless steel.


Anodised Aluminium

Anodised Aluminium is a incredibly durable and low maintenance  metal material, applied in most modern interior and building construction. In order to ‘anodise’ the aluminium, the metal sheet is immersed into acid electrolyte bath where an electric current passes through, this is known as an electrochemical process. By anodising the aluminium, an extra layer of oxide is then a part of the metal sheet which in turn makes it suitable for interior, architectural and furniture design use. This coat of oxide ensures it is a durable, scratch and corrosion resistant material. Anodised aluminium has many advantages, including the longevity and minimal maintenance needed, this makes it a very popular material within commercial design. It is a less expensive option in comparison to steel. It is also an environmentally safe product with no harmful effect to our surroundings and there is minimal waste thus an eco friendly and sustainable product.

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Due to the durability of Anodised Aluminium it is habitually used for doors and windows within interior design. There is a combined beauty and strength with this material meaning it can be utilised within modern, industrial, brutalist and transitional homes and commercial spaces with style and substance. Popular in recent years painted in black for pivotal room dividers or interior doors  the anodised aluminium helps create a space that can be minimal, current and stylish. The resistance to corrosion, chemical reactions and outdoor elements make anodised aluminium a good fit for exterior use.

Designer Kriskadecor has specialised in anodised aluminium use within interior design with her small interlinked aluminium pieces used as space dividers, wallcoverings, cladding and even lighting installations.

There are two types of Aluminium coating: Anodised and Powder.  Anodised is often favoured due to its straightforward application and ease of maintaining the quality of the metal, for example it simply needs to be cleaned with water.   However, there is no uniformity between batches and the colour can often slightly differ. Powder coating involves resin and pigment being sprayed onto the aluminium metal sheet. With powder coating there is a far greater variety of colour options. Yet anodised aluminium is still the more prevalent route as it lasts longer, has an authentic feel and is unlikely to peel or flake after application.

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One of the key designers with metal furniture and specifically anodised aluminium, American artist Donald Judd designed many notorious and exquisite pieces flaunting the versatility and innovative edge to this material. Judd began using metal in his furniture design in the 1980s and these pieces are still relevant and contemporary today. Employing the metal in a variation of colours, with rigid box style tables and units his pieces range from fun and boldly bright to reflective and spacious.


Anodised Aluminium use in furniture is incredibly varied and multipurpose in style in comparison with other material (wood, veneer etc). Examples of this include Max Lamb’s ‘211 Anodised Chair’ and Charles Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman. Lamb’s piece is very modern in appearance as well as structure with 3 slabs of aluminium metal assembled with counter links and allen bots completely hidden form view creating a sleek and modern design. The bright pink gives this chair a punchy burst of character. The iconic Eames chair has a sense of classic and timeless style, symbolising the mid century modern era it was created in during the 1950s. Both these pieces are timeless and sophisticated, but in very differing ways, demonstrating how anodised aluminium can transform furniture.