Reclaimed recycled steel Conference table by Weld House

Reuse, recycle has become the mantra for the Weld House Modern Metal Works, a Dallas, Texas-based company specializing in custom fabrication of modern steel furniture and architectural elements.  The Weld House takes junkyard cars and turns them into contemporary coffee tables, conference tables and media centers. Have a particular love for old classic? Weld House will try to source the model and create an original item for you.

Weld House Blue Chevy Coffee Table

How many modern pieces of furniture can boast former lives such as a 1986 Lincoln Towncar or a 1972 Chevy Truck? It takes about 30 years worth of exposure to the elements to create the beautiful patina and patterns. This is what makes each piece a distinct work of art.

azteca lowrider tableAn old lowrider’s custom mural makes a colorful pair of end tables. The artist is unknown but wouldn’t he or she be surprised to see their creation living a second life as living room furniture?

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People Pylons Kjour Highlands Concept
[tweetmeme source=”@SA_Baxter” only_single=false] Landset, the Icelandic company that owns and operates all major electricity transmission lines in Iceland presented designers with a challenge, design a new type of transmission tower. The competition’s goal? To obtain new ideas on how to design their 220kV high-voltage towers and lines. The selection committee explains, “The competitors were free to choose whether all the towers would have a new look, particular towers and selected environments would have a new look, or whether the appearance of known types of towers would be altered. In addition, it was left up to the competitors whether the design would blend into the landscape in rural and urban areas, or the tower/towers would stand out as objects. The main goal of the competition was that a new type of tower/towers would emerge, altering the overall appearance of line routes and that towers could be developed further with respect to environmental impact, the electromagnetic field lifetime and cost.”

Land of Giants transmission towers design by Choi+Shine

New England architectural firm Choi+Shine took on this challenge by presenting the committee with a new design concept with roots in the ancient statues of Easter Island. The design requires only minor alterations to the established steel-framed tower design and could be configured to respond to their environment. Dubbed, The Land of Giants™, the  concept is designed to integrate with the surroundings, as well as allow for expression of each individual tower. “The pylon-figures can also be arranged to create a sense of place through deliberate expression. Subtle alterations in the hands and head combined with repositioning of the main body parts in the x, y and z-axis, allow for a rich variety of expressions. The pylon-figures can be placed in pairs, walking in the same direction or opposite directions, glancing at each other as they pass by or kneeling respectively, head bowed at a town” explains the Choi+Shine website.

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[tweetmeme source=”@SA_Baxter” only_single=false]When transforming metal into objects, there are several different approaches one can take. A few like: casting metal, pouring molten metal into a mold or a blacksmith, who uses heat and a hammer to forge metal into shapes are well-known in the industry. But we’ve discovered one you may not have heard of, ‘blown’ metal.

blown metal chair by Stephen Newby

Yes, you read right, blown metal!  But how does one, blow metal? To break down the process in layman terms, weld two pieces of metal together and quite simply, blow air between the two sheets. The metal is heated, of course, and it takes a trained metal worker to know just when to manipulate the metal so don’t try this at home! But the end result is both unique and whimsical.

Coffee Table Blown Steel Pillow Base by Stephen Newby

British artist/designer Stephen Newby has taken that which is most often thought of as hard and cold and turned it into something instantly recognizable to most as comfy and cozy. Known as Full Blown Metals, Stephen Newby aims, “to soften and bring an organic, tactile quality clinically modern materials… and in doing so giving these materials a soul.” His pieces range from stainless steel chairs to modern coffee tables, screens and fabulous puffy sculptures. His work is so unique, it’s turned more than one head, for a second glance.

blown metal pillow room divider by Stephen Newby

To learn more about the process of blowing metal check out this article on Science Daily, Architectural Design: Blowing Metal to Create Chairs and More. Photos courtesy of Full Blown Metal.

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Metal chair by Ron Arad

Metal chair design

While visiting the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, we came across a brilliantly designed metal chair in the shape of an overstuffed armchair, and quickly became more of a fan of architect and designer, Ron Arad (if that’s even possible!). His designs are always playful and artistic, showcasing brilliantly innovative metal work. The sinuous forms of these overstuffed, comfy looking chairs are juxtaposed and ironic by the use of metal. Made from a single sheet of steel, Arad cut and pressed it into a bulging form of concave and convex contours that are sure show-stoppers.

Ron Arad metal rocking chair

A Metal Rocking Chair

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Although we may not frequently realize it, the history of working with metals to make hardware goes far back in time, and has since its humble beginnings come a very long way. In the fashioning of basic tools, one of the first metals to be used alongside stone was copper, which has been dated back to around 9000 BC. Since the aptly named Copper Age, metal began to be mixed in Ancient Egypt with tin to create the first alloy in existence, Bronze, whose own Age eventually trickled to the western world of Europe, where Greeks and Romans extended the use of the metal in their creation of elaborate statues and art.

Prior to the discovery of iron deposits in Connecticut, Early Americans resorted to wood for the locking hatches on their doors, and only then began to produce simple wrought iron hardware for latches and hinges. As history displays, the developing country struggled with its heavy dependence on England for mass imports of bronze and brass, and gradually broke free from the country’s industrial reigns while beginning to develop distinct American metal innovations such as Colonial Georgian designs in the South and “coach latches” in Pennsylvania. In gaining independence, America called for the birth of pioneers in the manufacturing of metals, and the trade has since been at the heart of American industry.

These days, trying to navigate the wide expanse that the metals industry has flourished into is not quite as simple a feat as the Egyptians had it when they wanted a copper spear. In the constant flux of today’s industry with regards to innovation, discovery, and technology, there are numerous metals available for use, which can be infinitely combined through the creation of different alloys and the utilization of various methods of casting, forging and finishing. Considering this, we realize that it can be difficult to determine what metal is best for your project, not only in terms of aesthetic, but in flexibility and durability. For instance, what sort of metal should you use on the exterior of a beach house, which requires that the metal is resistant to saltwater? Are certain metals less resistant to humid weather? What metals are more durable for busy commercial entry doors, which will experience more wear-and-tear?

To make life easier for you, we’re breaking it down to the basics. The following will provide you with the fundamentals about you need to know about what’s out there in architectural hardware today. Read more