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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Hayden

Focal's material options.

Different materials have unique properties based on their chemical makeup, and it is essential to consider several factors before selecting the right material for your project. Things like budget, aesthetics, and the product's environment are crucial factors that must be taken into account before making a decision.

Steel is the most cost-effective material but is relatively heavy and can rust. It requires extra care and protective coatings like paint or powder coating to prevent corrosion. However, steel's corrosion can also add character to the product, and a clear coat or wax finish can help protect the rusted appearance.

Stainless steel is a cost-effective way to have a corrosion-resistant material. It can be polished to a satin or mirror finish and left. It is commonly used for handrails due to its durability and resistance to corrosion.

Aluminium is more expensive than steel, but it has greater corrosion resistance, meaning it does not need to have a coating. It is very light in comparison to steel, which makes it easier to handle during the manufacturing and installation process.

Brass is even more expensive than aluminium but can create a stunning look. The material can age naturally or have a patina added to achieve the desired look. A clear coat or wax is then used to seal it. More consideration needs to be taken with brass as it is not as easily welded or brazed as steel or aluminium.

Copper is the most expensive material used by Focal, but it is sure to make your project stand out. Like brass, it can be left to age naturally or have a patina added to it to achieve the desired look. The natural oxidation process of copper creates a unique and distinctive patina that only improves with time. However, it should be noted that copper is a soft metal, and it can be susceptible to scratches and dents.

Overall, choosing the right material for your project requires a careful analysis of your needs and priorities. At Focal, we have experience working with various metals and can help guide you in selecting the best option for your project.

Below are some examples of different materials used throughout projects that you can see on our website.

  • Room Divider: Focal created a stunning room divider made from steel for a client. The steel was powder coated black to give it a sleek, modern look. This is a great example of using steel as a cost-effective material that can be coated for protection while also adding sophistication with the finish. The steel divider not only provides function but also adds an artistic element to the space.

  • Pendant Lights: Focal designed and fabricated a set of pendant lights for a restaurant using steel sheet. The steel alone, would provide a rustic element however, once painted, the material added a touch of elegance and sophistication to the space. As mentioned earlier, steel is the cheapest from a cost point of view but when done right can provide and amazing look.

  • Handrails and Balustrades: Focal's preference is to create balustrades from aluminium.. Although the initial outlay in material may be more expensive than steel, the labour is actually reduced in manufacturing and installation because of the reduction in weight. The material is able to be left raw because of it's corrosion resistance or it can be powdercoated. One example is a project where Focal created exterior aluminium balustrading for a pair of homes in Queenstown. The finished product was sleek and unobtrusive, blending seamlessly with the surrounding architecture.

  • Bespoke Fireplaces: Focal has created several custom fireplaces using a variety of materials. One example is a fireplace surround made from brass for a client's home. The patina finish of the brass added a unique and industrial look to the space. Brass is another example of using a material that can have endless possibilities for finishes depending on the space and preference of the client.. The finished product was a beautiful addition to the home, providing warmth and style.

These are just a few examples of the bespoke work Focal has completed using different materials. By taking into consideration the client's needs and the specific characteristics of each material, Focal is able to create one-of-a-kind pieces that are both functional and beautiful.

Above: Brass with a patinated finish and sealed with a bees wax.

Above: Hot-rolled steel waterfall counter sealed with a bees wax.

Above: Aluminium balustrading finished with powdercoat.

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