A growing area of interest for metals is for interior finishes. We talked to Alex Bell of Inzinctive about how he produces bespoke metal kitchen worktops, tables, bartops and countertops using materials supplied by SIG Zinc and Copper.
Alex is a qualified coppersmith, and worked in his father’s roofing company dealing with all aspects of metal roofing and cladding. His father used to get enquiries about bistro tables, coffee shop worktops and bars and restaurants, but had avoided getting into interiors. Alex thought he would see if he could transfer his metalworking skills to interiors and took to it like a fish to water. Five years on and Inzinctive is a successful metals interiors business, specialising in high end domestic and commercial interiors.
Why choose a metal worktop?
Metal worktops have become increasingly popular over the last decade for several reasons.
- They are handmade and bespoke, providing either a subtle accent or a full focal point for a room
- The metal surfaces are antibacterial – ideal for kitchens and busy bars
- Their robustness and longevity make them an attractive investment
- A wide variety of finishes are available from highly polished to antique patina.
“Your kitchen is a very personal space”, Alex explains. “Metal kitchen worktops provide a way to truly personalise the kitchen, whether you want something that looks very handmade, even historic, or like a solid gold bar! Conversely, if you’re looking for a talking point in your new restaurant or coffee shop, a metal bartop or countertop is just the thing. With high foot traffic, a hardwearing, antibacterial, long lasting focal point will encourage people to return.”
What will a metal worktop cost?
The four most popular metals for worktops, bartops and countertops are, in order of cost from highest to lowest:
- Copper, and
Zinc is a fraction of the cost of pewter. For example, a £10,000 bar top in pewter will cost around £3,000 in zinc, all other things being equal.
Choosing the right material will enable you to meet your budget requirements.
What Type of Metal Worktop or Bartop?
Pewter is a beautiful metal for worktops and bartops. Comprised mostly of tin with a small amount of antimony and copper, it tarnishes beautifully and quickly. It is also a dream to work with because it is quite malleable. Like the other non-ferrous metals, it has antibacterial properties. On the downside, as the most expensive material, pewter is often avoided due to cost. But doesn’t it look fabulous?
Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, was very popular in the 1920s and is having a bit of renaissance a hundred years on. Instead of a bright orange in its natural state like copper, the alloy is a combination of silver and orange, resulting in a warm gold colour. Brass is available in a range of alloys – more copper is stronger, more zinc is more supple and suitable for ornated edges and profiles. Less costly than pewter, brass is particularly popular for bar tops.
Considered the Rolls Royce of worktops, copper looks great and is hardwearing, as well as being antibacterial. The finish is quite stark, and the more discerning customer may prefer zinc, particularly for a more subtle interior.
Finally zinc, the most cost effective option, is increasingly popular in interiors, particularly for the more subtle effect. Zinc is a light silver in its natural state, but unlike stainless steel which is rather bright and harsh, zinc dulls down nicely with a beautiful patina.
One reason for the popularity of zinc is the trend towards kitchens made from reclaimed materials such as untreated wood in random shapes. Zinc can be a very popular solution in this situation.
The choice of material is a good starting point in your considerations, relating to budget, however some other factors can come into play.
If you want something more ornate than a square profile edge, the front edge of your bar or worktop can be more ornate, with sweeps, curls and patterns. Some bar owners like to consider a cast or embossed front. Most zinc casting is done in France where it is very popular. Whilst cast zinc profiles can cost as much as a 4×4, they have the advantage that they wouldn’t look out of place in the Savoy.
Robustness, Thickness and Finish
Depending on the application, you may consider choosing a thinner gauge of material. In a domestic setting this can reduce the cost somewhat, but at the price of robustness.
Clients can also opt for a pre-weathered or antique finish, or even for the surface to be dimpled or marked so that it looks rustic or reclaimed. Alex has worked on projects (such as a burger chain in London) where the client wanted the zinc worktop installed and then to look like it had been distressed ‘to within an inch of its life’.
What is it like commissioning a bespoke metal worktop or countertop?
Working with a professional team on your metal interiors is no different to working with a professional team on your roofing or cladding.
The team will provide a personalised experience from start to finish. On a bespoke project, full design services can be provided, with samples so that clients can see and feel the material – even try it out for a while.
Alex also carries out on site templating before installation to ensure the finished worktop or bartop matches the setting precisely. He orders the material from SIG Zinc and Copper and as always can rely on our comprehensive supply chain. Installation is then a breeze.
If you’d like SIG Zinc and Copper to supply metal for your interiors projects, just contact us.