Unique kitchens using stainless steel and liquid metal
The terms ‘luxury’ and ‘exclusivity’ often go hand in hand. There is something incredibly special about owning a truly original piece, something that you know that no-one else in the world has. Whether it is a commissioned piece of art or a tailored suit, the sentimentality that comes from owning a unique item gives us a feeling of pride.
This is especially true when we look to the interior design of luxury properties around the world and there are many ways that designers make a property individual to its owners, from the architectural details to the materials and finishes. In this article, we take a closer look at stainless steel kitchens and how some more unusual forms of metal used in luxury interiors can result in truly unique kitchens.
Stainless steel kitchens & appliances
Metal is a heavily used material within kitchen design as most kitchen appliances come in a stainless steel finish as standard. From Gaggenau ovens to Franke steel sinks, stainless steel can be found in most kitchens, and for good reason. Stainless steel is a very strong and durable material, it is also non-porous which means that it does not absorb moisture making it a perfect solution for kitchens where hygiene is paramount.
In more recent years kitchen appliance manufacturers have launched appliances in a wider variety of metal finishes such as brass, bronze, copper and rose-gold, you can even opt for a Quooker boiling water tap in polished gold. This means that you can now even tailor the finish of your appliances to suit your kitchens colour scheme.
Although tailoring the metal finish of your appliances will set your kitchen apart from most, creating a truly unique metal kitchen requires stepping beyond the fixtures and fittings to the cabinetry and worktops themselves.
Metal kitchen finishes: sheet metal
A variety of metallic finishes can be achieved using sheet metal and this finish has been used a great deal in the kitchen and interior design world. Sheet metal is incredibly durable, almost indestructible, which is why it is used in chefs stainless steel kitchens and commercial kitchens across the globe. Sheet metal can be used in various ways within a kitchen, including worktops, doors, feature back panels and smaller design features or details.
Stainless steel kitchen worktops
When you think of metal kitchen worktops the first images that come to mind may be of stainless steel kitchens, usually associated with commercial cooking. While a kitchen made entirely from metal could seem out of place in a residential home, when designed correctly it can look beautifully striking. The simplicity of a kitchen island made entirely from metal can bring a very minimalist and contemporary feel to a home. Of course, using metal in a kitchen isn’t an all or nothing scenario and metal worktops are often paired with kitchen doors in lacquer or wood which soften the overall scheme. Equally, metal kitchen doors can be paired with stone worktops.
Metal can be treated to create a variety of finishes too. A chrome finish is incredibly smooth and will act more like a mirror, reflecting the environment in which the metal sits. A brushed finish on the other hand, has a matte aesthetic. Metal finishes can also be treated to create an aged or antique effect.
In the Extreme kitchen pictured below, metal in an antique finish is used for the surface of the cantilevered dining table.
Metal kitchen design features
Metal can also be used for feature panels within a kitchen design, such as in the Extreme kitchen pictured below. Our designers chose to incorporate sheet metal in a bronze finish to create a bespoke island feature. The metal encases the structural island support and drainage for the integrated herb trough, making a design feature of a very functional aspect of the kitchen.
Metals such as chrome, stainless steel and brass can also be incorporated within the details of a kitchen design. In the Extreme kitchen below our designers opted for brass inlays which were set into the timber of these kitchen doors.
Metal kitchen finishes: liquid metal
While sheet metal offers a range of options there are still limitations, so to create an entirely original concept designers look to liquid metal.
One of the key advantages of using liquid metal coatings is the versatility: as the metal looks and reacts just like the real thing, it is extremely malleable and can be applied to a variety of surfaces. London based design practice Based Upon even coated a custom piano in liquid metal. This versatility gives designers complete freedom when developing exquisite, one-off features.
The coatings are applied using a spray and hand-sanded to remove the majority of the binder; leaving behind a solid-looking metal surface. This beautiful, seamless finish can be applied to anything from decorative feature walls and doors to sculptures, screens and furniture. The finished product can be polished, buffed or brushed just like a solid piece of metal.
The only limitation for liquid metal really is the imagination and expertise of those handling the material. Due to the complexity of the process and the skills required to produce liquid metal coatings, the material can only be found within prime properties and luxury hotels throughout the world so by choosing this material you instantly achieve exclusivity. However, it doesn’t end there and if you wish to take your design further to create a design that is personal and individual to you, metal is perhaps one of the best suited materials to achieve this.
While the material is wet, it is possible to impress shapes or images into the metal in a similar way to wet cement or ceramic. This technique is particularly exciting as almost anything could be used to create an indentation, from leaves to lace, the possibilities are endless. In this Extreme kitchen liquid pewter is used on the curved doors and drawers on the kitchen island, as well as the drawers in the bespoke bar area. The metal is finished in a shagreen texture to complement the client’s cherished shagreen dining table. The shagreen textured metal coats the drawers and curved doors on the kitchen island.
As well as hand-pressing textures and shapes in to the metal, it can also be poured into a mould to create a particular pattern. In this Extreme kitchen the bronze metal on the kitchen island columns is moulded into a cracked effect and then polished to create a satin finish.
Liquid metal can also be combined with different materials to create an entirely different aesthetic. Metals can be crafted to create a mould in any shape or design, into which transparent or coloured resin can be poured. The finish pictured below combined brass with electric blue resin, however the options available are almost limitless to include a plethora of colours and finishes such as mother of pearl.
The most unique and personal application of liquid metal is a mural or picture and this is when the lines between craft and art disappear. Using the processes mentioned above artists can create unique commissioned pieces of art using the metal which can be installed as a feature piece in your hallway, a back panel on your home bar, or it can even form the kitchen doors themselves.
To discover all of the exciting ways that metal can be incorporated into your kitchen design, or to find out how we help our clients to create unique kitchens, contact the Extreme designers at your nearest studio here.