It seems all the greatest trends experience new life at some point. Vintage decorating ideas, in particular, continue to catch the eye of designers and consumers looking for new kitchen ideas. Such is the case with metal kitchen cabinets, which is reclaiming its place in modern kitchens.
At the turn of the 20th Century, steel was the material of choice for kitchen cabinets, sought after for its durability, cleanliness, and “vermin proof” construction. When the U.S. entered World War II in 1941, steel factories shifted production, honing in on products like bombs, radio communications equipment, and military vehicle parts to support the war effort.
With the housing boom in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, production for both wooden and steel cabinetry accelerated, but use of wood and particle board began to gain prominence due its cheap cost and quick manufacturing capabilities. Steel remained the primary material for furniture in tech and science laboratory environments due to its resilience and sterility.
In the 21st century, steel is regaining favor for use in luxury kitchens, thanks to its durability, sustainability, non-toxic properties, and fresh design perspective that unites function and beauty.
STEEL’S DESIGN EVOLUTION
In its earliest iterations, steel cabinetry and furniture was largely about function. With the housing boom in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, steel cabinetry for your kitchen and bath was successfully marketed as modern and high-end.
In the late 1940’s, color was introduced, greatly expanding design possibility beyond the standard white cabinets or wood varieties previously available.
Today, retro kitchen cabinet sets from the 1930’s and 1940’s are being salvaged and refurbished by consumers and designers – a testimony to steel’s endurance both in construction and design appeal.
Steel cabinetry and furniture is available in a wide range of colors and finishes, and can be designed to capture virtually any aesthetic — from retro, to European, to minimalist.
The advantages of using steel in modern kitchen design goes beyond incorporating the latest kitchen trends. Its unique properties provide several distinct benefits:
- Steel cabinetry and furniture are more resistant to impact, moisture, chemicals, ultraviolet light and extreme weather than wood and lacquered products.
- The highest quality steel furniture is finished with a powder coating process which reduces risk of scratching, chipping, corrosion, fading and other wear issues.
- The durability of steel makes it an ideal fit for rental and hospitality properties and affords a lower total cost of ownership by minimizing need to repair or replace.
- Steel is environmentally friendly making it possible to achieve a truly sustainable kitchen: It is completely recyclable, possesses great durability, and, compared to other materials, requires relatively low amounts of energy to produce.
- Steel is North America's top recycled material – more steel is recycled in the U.S. than paper, plastic, aluminum and glass combined, according to the Steel Recycling Institute.
- By recycling one ton of steel, 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved.
- Around 90% of water used in the steel industry is cleaned, cooled and returned to source according to the World Steel Association. Most of the loss is due to evaporation. Water returned to rivers and other sources is often cleaner than when extracted.
- The energy used to produce a metric ton of steel has been reduced by 60% in the last 50 years.
NON-TOXIC and HYPOALLERGENIC
- Steel cabinetry and furniture is non-toxic and hypo-allergenic, contributing to cleaner air indoors – vital for residential and hospitality environments.
- Steel and steel construction processes do not contain formaldehyde – a known carcinogen commonly found in particle board, plywood, and fiberboard. As these materials interact with sunlight or heat from ovens or stoves, formaldehyde is released into the air.
- According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, formaldehyde exposure may potentially cause a variety of symptoms and adverse health effects, such as eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation, coughing, wheezing, and allergic reactions. Long term exposure to high levels of formaldehyde has been associated with cancer in humans and laboratory animals.
- Because of its non-porous surface, steel is unlikely to host allergens and pests, thereby elevating its sterility over wood and lacquered materials.
The rebirth of steel for modern kitchens and baths is providing designers with a new medium to leverage the latest trends in kitchen design.
Moya Living designs and manufacturers beautiful, custom cabinets and furniture for kitchens and bath. Available in virtually any color palette and in matte, gloss or hammered finishes, Moya Living cabinetry and furniture affords architects and designers total creativity. For more information about Moya Living projects and products, contact us.