I don’t have anything against wood. It’s a beautiful natural material, it comes in various shades, colors, uses, and even the good people at Viagra built a company around wood! But I’m more of a steel guy.
Steel and wood have several similarities. Much like wood, steel comes in various shades, colors and it can be it used in almost every way that wood can – although I wouldn’t try building a campfire with it. On the other hand, I wouldn’t try building a fire pit out of wood. In your face, wood!
While wood has different grain patterns and knot holes to give it character, steel has milling marks, dark and light areas and streaks and scratches that do the same. And like wood, steel tends to darken with age, giving it a patina of sorts that adds to its beauty, not diminishes it.
Back to the topic, why should you choose custom steel furniture or furnishings over wood? My first response is, “Everyone has wooden furniture, why not be a little adventurous?” How many wooden tables have you seen in your lifetime? Hundreds? Thousands? Aside from your family’s dining table, do any of them stand in out in your mind? Probably not. Now, have you ever you seen a steel table in someone’s home? If you have, you probably remember it. That’s the beauty of steel – it stands out, without being obnoxious. It’s distinctive, memorable and dare I say, “cool”?
My second response is: don’t just buy a table, for example, create an heirloom. When designed and built correctly, steel can bring a feeling of warmth and accessible permanence to a room. I sign and date everything I make, so as the years roll by and the piece ages and gets handed down through the generations, it will take on a life and history of its own. A sort of time capsule that will age much better than any of us.
I don’t design trendy or hip pieces. Those sorts of things have a shelf life that is way too short. I know my pieces will be around for a long, long time so my stuff needs to be timeless and classic.
I don’t think you should furnish your entire home in steel, although my accountant would disagree, but one or two (or five) pieces would add a nice change of pace to your décor. Shiny, little visual speed bumps that make people stop and stare. And will make that wooden table hidden in the corner a little jealous.
Please share your thoughts, questions or stories with me and the world.