If you're interested in exploring unusual materials and learning interesting ways to use them in your home, we have got just the thing for you:
Enter the world of METAL.
More specifically, let's talk about Metal Mesh. Metal mesh offers imaginative uses for metal, and can be used in the household, no longer limiting metal to the industrial realm. Primarily used in windows to keep out pests and as sieves for manufacturing, mesh was traditionally a manufacturing material made into screening, vents and grilles. With advancements in modern technology, however, it is now being transformed and reinvented for countless uses within the home. It can provide invaluable sound insulation when used on the ceiling, create a beautiful palette on walls and be utilized to great effect in drapery, furniture and artwork. Available in brass, copper, aluminum, stainless steel, and even gold finishes, metal mesh offers great diversity of material and looks, creating a highly unique and functional appearance.
As the interior designer, Noel Pugh of Noel Pugh Design states:
"With minimum product, metal mesh gives you a maximum effect. For example, I use it to achieve privacy as a divider but it simultaneously allows for sneaking a peak at the world behind it with the apt use of lighting. I can't think of another material that does this better."
In order to explore the many diverse ways in which metal mesh is being used in the home, we collaborated with the expert Steve Kitezh of Materials, Inc. who, in his job, presents the design/architecture professional community with newly formed and reinvented materials, to illustrate the many unique and inventive ways we may now incorporate them in our spaces.
Here is a glimpse of what we discussed, including 6 creative aspects of metal mesh and how to use them in our homes:
1) Enhance your Lighting
The reflectivity of metal mesh, its color options and diversity in manufacturing make it a natural material for brilliant lighting effects. Above, copper metal mesh is used to both cover and light the ceiling. Steve notes:
"When used in organic free form shapes, it provides a lively contrast to linear architectural styles. And, as a ceiling treatment, using embedded LED lights within a long randomly scrunched sheet of iridescent red mesh supported with invisible wire ties, provides a spirit to a quiet interior below it. Mesh pom-poms bloom like giant flowers of light that dance with the guests below."
(Courtesy of Hammerton Studios, Inc.)
With rays emanating from the wires in all directions, the quality of light spreads throughout the room. It is a stunning look for most any home.
2) Transform and Define Spaces
No longer limited to boring sheetrock, walls may now be made of various materials, including metal mesh. Steve states that one can:
"Create walls a fraction of an inch thick and move them at will. This is a totally new use for metal mesh. Sectioning a space with mesh can create privacy with weaves that are more closed."
This use of mesh allows it to divide spaces while still allowing for the transmittal of light is a great way to delineate areas within an apartment without full blockage. Great for small apartments, an area of a loft or interior room may be sectioned off to create a differently functioning section, perhaps a work nook within a living space, though both are essentially within one area. "Alternatively, when a metallic surfaced mesh is front lit, the mesh becomes a surface difficult to see through. When backlit, more transparency is created," says Steve.
3) Reinvent your Furniture
As fine as linen, mesh fabrics can clad furniture much like fabric. Wrinkle it, bend it, twist it to cover tables, re-surface door panels, give shelves some punch and even use it as upholstery. Its lightweight nature allows for almost any use within the home. Below is a sofa covered in metal soft enough to sit on and a coffee table whose top is resilient enough for water glasses and wine.
The new meshes are finished with powder coatings, stains and oxidized effects that were formerly relegated to aluminum and bronze architectural details.
4) Experiment with Drapery
Wire can be made as thin as thread, combining the gossamer effects famous in silk fabrics without sacrificing the strength of stainless steel. There isn't even a need to fire proof. "And, no need to send to the cleaners: only vacuum, says Steve." One unbeatable quality? No fading!
Whether these fine new meshes are sewn, grommeted or draped, their luminescence and beauty make them a great fit for the modern home. They transcend any trend or period style. Joe Ness of Cascade Coil Drapery, Inc., a company that fabricates metal mesh fabrics for draperies, explains that:
"Wire replaces thread to create Fabricoil, our coiled wire fabric...It replaces traditional fabric used in applications like room dividers, window treatments, ceiling treatments and a host of exterior applications. Its unique texture and strength make it a great choice for use in interior design."
5) Revitalize your Walls
Until recently, the standard approach to achieving shimmering, metallic surfaces has been using metallic powders on wall coverings. Metal mesh, however, provides the opportunity to use all the properties of the real metal by itself: you can create reflection, texture, natural or man-made color and take advantage of its ability to bend. Metallic mesh provides a true metallic surface, not merely an effect. On the wall below, metal mesh with a swirl design lines a brick wall, adding texture, color and vibrancy to the space. You can transform your own wall by applying a section of metal mesh over a part of the wall, thereby dividing one space from another - either horizontally or vertically. As Olivia Sklower of the material design group Sophie Mallebranche says:
"Our woven metal has a unique way of impacting interiors in how it refracts and diffuses light, and how easily it blends in with other materials, reflecting their colors in its own."
(Courtesy of Olivia Sklower of Sophie Mallebranche, Paris)
6) Introduce creativity and intrigue through Artwork
Molded over solid objects, finely woven metal mesh (3.2 mm) can be used to create stunning and delicate artwork. Highly expandable and pliable, it's great for shaping, draping and mixed media assemblage and its shimmering and luminescent nature makes it a perfect fit for many artistic endeavors. In the artwork below, metal is fashioned and wrapped like pieces of fabric canvas around two candles, giving the appearance of the fabric-cum-metal floating in the air.
A rags-to-riches material, metal mesh is a product that has transformed from the practical and industrial to the imaginative and creative. Designers and architects see it as a diamond in the rough and as a material that is just coming into its own. Now that mesh can be made from a range of gages beginning with the very thin, woven like fabric, to the strong and solid, it's ever expanding use of texture and color, make metal mesh an engaging design option for use in the most unexpected places at home.
....even a metal mesh dress!