London; modern architecture; marmite for the eyes

Marmite for the eyes | Modern architecture

Modern Architecture in London

One of the things about London I love most is the way that its exciting modern architecture sits so well with the many beautiful heritage buildings there. And I am doubly excited because shortly I’ll be in London.  We stay with family close to Alexandra Palace (Ally Pally) which has a panoramic view across London.

I have just found that Insider London offers tours of the modern architecture of the City on a Sunday afternoon. It takes 3 hours and costs 40 pounds.  The Insider describes London’s modern architecture as being like “marmite for the eyes – you either love it or hate it”.  It goes on to say that no matter what you think of it you certainly can’t help noticing it.

The buildings have quirky names

Only in London would you have a building called The Gherkin”. At 30 St Mary’s Ave “The Gherkin” is modern architecture design by award winning architect, Sir Norman Foster.

And then there’s The Shard, a dynamic and architecturally striking vertical city incorporating, retail, offices, a hotel, apartments, restaurants and a public viewing gallery.

The Inside-Out Building

The Lloyd’s building, sometimes called the Inside-Out building is a leading example of radical modern architecture known as “Bowellism”.  The services for the building, like ducts and lifts, are on the outside of the building to maximise space in the interior. Bowellism is a very “English” term for the style.   They say it how it is in Britain!

This building received a Grade I listing in 2011. This was only 25 years after it was completed in 1986.  Historic England says it is “universally recognised as one of the key buildings of the modern epoch”.

It is our opinion that buildings should be of their age – without development we would not have such wonderful architecture as the art deco city of Napier.

We’re always keen to hear your views and to see whether Metalier can assist you to realise your ideas. Contact us here or complete the form below.


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Tiny house

Tiny house movement: A social revolution?

What do you think of the Tiny House Movement?

Examples of the tiny house seem to be popping up all over the internet. I’m fascinated and slightly awed by the concept. I’m not sure that I could do away with my “stuff”. However, like most people, if things are hidden away, you don’t miss them. I found a pair of shoes the other day in a box in the wardrobe. I can’t remember when or where I bought them but they are fantastic and I love them. But I was happy enough without them.

There’s a great website about The Tiny Life where they describe the movement as a social one. It is not just about living in a smaller space it also involves simplified living.  A bit like being a nun or a monk without the confinement and, in some cases, no speaking – certainly no nice glasses of red wine or celebratory champagne.

One of the advantages of having a tiny house is cost. The website quotes American costs but there is no doubt that in most of the Western world huge savings could be made if we lived smaller.  But tiny living is about more.  It means:

  1. A tiny house
  2. Environmental consciousness
  3. Self sufficiency
  4. A simpler life
  5. Sound financial planning
  6. Life Adventures

There are a number of practical issues standing in the way of the tiny house movement. Building codes is one, access to land another. What about a loan – banks lend on small apartments but tiny houses?  There is also fear – of change, of being different, of changing your lifestyle.  There is also social pressure. How do you have a party in the winter for example?

Right now at I'm intrigued, and despite the found shoes, not really convinced that it’s for me. But it’s a very interesting concept and we’ll be watching it with interest and – who knows?  I certainly like the idea of life adventures. The house in the picture looks liveable to me but I’m not sure I fancy living in a house on a trailer.

We’d love to hear what you think so email us or fill in the form below.


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copper; advantages of liquid metal

Advantages of liquid metal - What are they?

The advantages of liquid metal are many.

In descending order of importance we suggest they are:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Weight
  • Cost
  • Seamlessness & Curves
  • Variety

The protection of the environment is so important that it is going to get an article all to itself.  It’s by way of being one of the general advantages of liquid metal rather than a specific one.

Let’s look at the other advantages.

Weight is probably the most significant of the advantages of liquid metal over sheet or forged metal.  We did an interesting comparison between Metalier liquid metal on a standard 2.4 x 1.2 sheet of 10mm MDF. The total weight of the panel was about 13kg against 35kg for the sheet metal.  This meant it was easier to position and erect.  The wall behind needed no extra strengthening to support the weight of the MDF.  There was absolutely no way that anyone looking at or touching the panel which was rusted iron could tell the difference between sheet corten steel and the Metalier liquid metal coating.

Cost follows on neatly from weight.  You save on expensive strengthening as well as saving on the actual cost of the product.  It makes sense when you think about it.  Sheet metal is sold by weight so it stands to reason that a sheet of brass at, say 5mm thick, is going to cost a lot more than a sheet of MDF or other cost-effective substrate coated  with a Metalier coating that is .5 of a mm thick.

Seamlessness & Curves just don’t happen with sheet metal.  You are limited by the sheet size and I’ve never found a sheet metal that could become round or oval.  Foundry metal can be curved of course but at huge cost.

Variety is also one of the advantages of liquid metal. It is only with liquid metal that you can create textures and patterns such as lace and stripes and can mix colours together or have a pattern created with two different metals.  It also follows any patterns in the substrate as shown in the featured picture.

There are many more advantages of course and we’ll tell you about them as we discover them. Contact us to see how Metalier can assist with your next project or complete the form below.


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Porthole windows in Metalier at The Sugar Club; light metal coating

Why choose Metalier's light metal coating?

One of Metalier’s most important attributes is that it is a light metal coating.

Lightness is sometimes the main reason Metalier is chosen for a particular job.

We’ve been working with a contractor to see how best to manufacture light fittings in the shape of pelmets.  The architects wanted the look of real brass.  Each fitting is a meter long and 200 x 200 mm deep so they are substantial.

There are three options.  One is metallic paint, one is sheet metal and one is Metalier’s light metal coating. It was a good time for us to review the options again.

First because we were conscious of costs we painted a metallic paint on 10mm MDF. The brief was for 10mm thickness. The architects rejected the paint option as a solution. It looked like paint not metal, particularly in the brass colour.

Second we looked at sheet metal which is available in 2mm, 5mm and 10mm thickness. We haven’t recently looked at the cost of sheet metal. Even the man in the Metal Company said you won’t want to make these fittings in sheet metal. They’ll be too expensive and too heavy.

Making the fittings in 2mm sheet brass would be a similar cost to Metalier’s light metal coating but it would not give the desired thickness and chunky look. Even at 5mm thick the fittings would be very heavy and require extra ceiling bracing.

10mm was impractical because of the weight and the price was many many times the price of a Metalier solution. Not only was the price of the material more expensive. It is also more expensive to fabricate.

The third option was Metalier brass on 10mm MDF. It ticks all the boxes of reasonable cost and a workable light weight.

We are solution driven and immensely practical at Metalier. While we always hope the solution is a light metal coating, sometimes it’s not and we will always tell you when this is so.  We love talking about new projects and helping you to make them work. You can contact us here or complete the form below. We love to hear from you.


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