Daryl BarkerManaging Director
Stainless Steel as a Material
The advantages of stainless steel in public are very clear. The product is not a plated finish, it is a solid material – this means it is not liable to being scratched or discoloured.
When combined with its high tensile strength it is the most suitable for high traffic areas and can be cleaned with chemical cleaners without losing any of its properties. Stainless steel is also a non-porous material, meaning it is highly bacteria resistant. These factors ensure that Stainless Steel is a first choice to maintain hygiene in high traffic areas.
Designing with Stainless Steel Outdoors
Stainless steel allows excellent technical and designing characteristics whilst also being sustainable, due to the recyclability and as a long-life material. This ensures stainless steel is also an environmentally friendly choice.
The material strength of stainless steel has a well recognised durability thanks to the presence of chromium, which oxidises oxygen. Once chromium oxide is present in the material it prevents further oxidisation – therefore preventing rust. Other contents contributing to the durability include nickel, copper titanium, niobium and molybdenum which act as a binding agents. This material strength results in stainless steel withstanding 500 degree celsius, hence the popular use in kitchens, for both indoor and outdoor.
Outdoor Shower Columns
In addition stainless steel (AISI 303) has also long been used in the marine industry due to its high resistance to salt water. We now see the product used widely in the shower production with shower columns and shower heads more and more for both indoor and outdoor use. The tubular steel products are easy to produce in low volumes allowing for flexibility in design.
Designing with Stainless Steel Indoors
Shower Channels and Drains
In recent years the shower channel has become the norm across Europe and Asia, with all the benefits of stainless steel relevant. High quality drain products are generally produced in brushed stainless steel (AISA 304) and feature attractive, simple drain plates to seamlessly blend into the shower floor. Sanipex Group caters to this with our own fully dedicated brand AQUADRAIN.
For many years stainless steel has been used in kitchen and hardware design due to recognition of the practicalities and durability. In recent years we now see stainless steel being used in products for the bathroom – especially with the Indoor/Outdoor design trend.
The achieve this look, mixing materials with minimal linear lines to blend with other natural materials such as wood, or soft stone composites such as Bagnoquartz – tactile materials will soften the design style to create a biophilic environment over an industrial influence.
“The result is a sculptural form that exudes an effortless sense of calm.”
The residential project Villa Waalre, in the Netherlands, uses the Vola brassware in a Stainless Steel finish for a project dedicated to including tactile materials. This conveys a connection between the exterior and interior environments as rustic materials that are suitable for indoors and outdoors were used in all environments. Vola advises “The result is a sculptural form that exudes an effortless sense of calm.”
VOLA has manufactured taps and accessories in brushed solid stainless steel for almost 20 years. The surface is brushed by hand with the direction of the brushing of each part of the products carefully considered. As the brushed surface reflects the light, the direction is very important. This meticulous technique of brushing gives the stainless steel a human and poetic touch. To achieve such, each VOLA craftsman has to understand the overall design philosophy to carefully realise it in each product to create a piece of artwork.
Designing for the Future
As a hygienic material and with product development of the utmost importance to Sanipex Group, we have expanded the collection of washroom products with a focus on stainless steel to respond to the current climate with a demand for hygiene in design.
“We produced our new IX304 sanitizer stands in stainless steel as the brushed finish is durable, unobtrusive, non-reflective and stylish. Whilst being non-porous to offer the safest possible experience to the end user”
Daryl Barker, Managing Director of Sanipex Group