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Thursday, April 18, 2019

New Product Development -Custom Architectural Steel?

If you’ve ever come across a beautiful metal cut gate, a privacy screen, metal wall art, or CortenTM siding in an architectural magazine or online, you may have thought briefly of wanting to incorporate something similar into your own home. Likely, your consideration of architectural metal stopped there.

Test Cut: Metal Birch Tree Screen
In this installation, the metal is
sandwiched between glass and a storm
window. The window has been installed
to allow light to filter from a sunny room
into a somewhat dark hallway.
It’s nearly impossible to find a company with the capacity to design and manufacture architectural steel elements for a homeowner at a reasonable cost. Architectural metal is onerous and cost prohibitive for 99% of homeowners, which is why interesting architectural steel home applications are seldom seen outside of Dwell, or other high-end architectural & design magazines.

The seasonality of our stove business leaves our off-season ripe for potential expansion into architectural metal design. Woodstock Soapstone Co., is uniquely positioned with software and design capabilities, full sheet metal fabrication shop (including a laser jet, water jet, press brakes, and welders), along with our desire to create new metal products to expand our business.

In the past year we’ve had the unique opportunity to use an employee’s new home construction project to test custom designs of metal cut balustrades, privacy screens, lighting design, custom vanity tops, and CortenTM panelized siding.
CortenTM is a self weatherizing steel that strengthens and becomes more stable as it oxidizes. The end result is a beautiful patina of rust that protects the steel from future corrosion, making for a unique, no maintenance siding, most commonly found on commercial building and high-end modern homes.

We are exploring whether we can offer semi-custom/custom architectural metal designs at very reasonable price points.  We might be able to offer interesting architectural metal products, with an array of options, at reasonable prices, since the entire process takes place right in our West Lebanon, NH factory (which produces an interesting array of stoves).

Included are a few initial test samples of the designs we are working on, as we begin the installations, we’ll share the details on our company blog and news emails.

Prototype Lightboxes:
The three images here show two tree themed lightboxes, designed as both wall art & lighting. The trees have been cut from a sheet of CortenTM steel and weatherized to a rusty patina. Behind the tree is a painted surface illuminated with LED tape lights that wrap around the inside perimeter of the box. These lightboxes are framed in cherry. The two images below depict a Spring/Summer tree with a verde background and a Winter tree with a starry night background. Images of an Autumn tree lightbox will be forthcoming soon