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Steel has long been an essential material for the design industry.
It is, and always has been since its discovery in 1913 by Harry Brearley, used in all areas of design from cutlery and jewellery to larger items such as furniture. It is hard-wearing, long-lasting and beautifully reflective making it not only extremely practical, but aesthetically-pleasing too. We have all had experiences with the material from using the ‘best’ cutlery that came out only on special occasions, to proudly displaying our shiny football trophies.
As 2013 marks the 100 year anniversary of the discovery of stainless steel, Galvanize Sheffield is curating a month-long event to celebrate the material. There are a number of exhibitions happening all over the city including Designed to Shine at the Millennium Gallery, Stain-Less at The Sheffield Institute for Art, and Aesthetics of Manufacture at the Butcher Works Gallery. If you are based in Sheffield and fancy popping along to some of the events, you can find the full event list here
As a Sheffield-based company that sell many items in this material, we were asked to be a part of the Designed to Shine exhibition. Many furniture manufacturers continue to use steel in their products, so we had a lot to say about its use in furniture design - both past and present. You can see our Marketing and Communications Manager, Toni, in the video below talking about Tom Dixon’s Etch Web Pendant Light, a contemporary design launched this year, made completely from steel. The video will be on display at the Designed to Shine exhibition until October.
Tom Dixon isn’t the only manufacturer using steel in his designs, however. Nest sell a vast collection of items – from design classics first produced in the 1920s to modern day designs being produced right now - that use this material.
The Knoll Wassily Chair, designed in the 1920s by Marcel Breuer, was the first chair to be made from tubular steel and it had a lasting impact on the furniture industry.
For more contemporary pieces, Dutch manufacturers Moooi rely heavily on this material for their beautiful Raimond Suspension Light which is made from polished stainless steel and LED lights.
Additionally, a great example of this material being used in a decorative way is the Driade Miss Lacy Easy Chair – a beautifully patterned chair that just radiates luxury and elegance.
But the list doesn’t stop there. Many items use steel as their base material - such as the Eames’ Hang it All, naughtone’s Trace Coffee Table and the iconic Race Furniture Roebuck Chair to name a few.
So it’s clear to see that this material is here to stay. Its durable properties mixed with its aesthetic beauty make it an ideal material, especially in furniture and lighting design, and it’s great to see it finally being celebrated. The Galvanize festival runs until the end of May, so be sure to pop down to one of the events before then.