In today’s baffling economy, the retail sector provides clues to where growth is occurring. There is growth at the bottom and growth at the top of the income/wealth scales. Unfortunately, mid-tier markets are in decline (Sears, JC Penny) while there is growth occurring in both the deep discount sector (Walmart) and luxury high-end markets (Nordstrom, Tiffany’s, Ralph Lauren).
Which tier would you rather cater to as an architect or designer/remodeler?
The choice is easy for most. High end clients know what they want and they scrutinize every quality detail when working with their chosen designers. For many of them, even top-of-the-line commercial products simply won’t do. They want custom – they want their own signature on the architectural features of their homes and businesses.
The architect and remodeler who can say yes to artistic, custom metal fabrications required for one of a kind architectural features has a big advantage when serving the luxury class. Custom metal fabrication is not a go it alone project unless you also happen to be experienced in metallurgy, drafting, detailing, modeling and machining/fabricating. You need a specialist.
Custom metal work is strong, beautiful and enduring. It can be expensive to manufacture customized stairs, rails, doors, walls, gates and fixtures. The risks associated with it can deter some designers from fulfilling their creative ideals. Rather than exceeding expectations with an amazing architectural feature, they may sell the client on a more readily available architectural product, falling short of delighting that client in the end, perhaps even losing future opportunities.
Collaboration takes your work to a higher level and opens new doors.
High end clients don’t want to settle for “best available” option. They’d rather create exactly what suits them using available talent and expertise. Take for example a feature stair with an irregular 90 degree turn going up a story in open space. How do your go about specifying the fabrications with structural support to fit the space and landings perfectly? You can send drawings to a fabricator and start troubleshooting ways to achieve the desired goal or you can work with a metals expert to first build an accurate model of your-one-of-a-kind design, then go build it to the delight of the client.
The correct way to custom fabricate architectural metal…
- Using a digital 3D model, a visual proof of concept is first established before any materials or work are ordered.
- A complete understanding of the properties of structural steel and various alloys help determine the correct materials.
- The project is designed, drafted and detailed for manufacturability.
- A working knowledge of the machining, cutting, welding and other fabrication procedures required to achieve the desired result facilitates a successful building project in less time.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” so here are more photographs to help you get a better picture of some inspired designs using best practices in architectural metal fabrication.