kinetic sculpture

Metalier saves $6.3 million dollars on kinetic sculpture

Metalier liquid metal and kinetic artists create affordable design

Kinetic Sculpture is just one way in which Metalier liquid metal can demonstrate its cost-effectiveness.  Admittedly kinetic sculpture is not exactly a mainstream commercial avenue for liquid metal.  It does, however, provide a stunning comparison between the costs of using Metalier as against sheet metal.

Len Lye Foundation Engineers have looked to Metalier.

Len Lye’s kinetic sculpture was way ahead of its time and many of his ideas are still to be executed.  Metalier has been invited to test its coating on a particular work of art that Canterbury University engineers are building.  The design which is on a civic scale involves seven 50 metre strips of stainless steel that move like a serpent and hit an end piece that makes a light flash.

The strips of stainless steel are estimated to cost $1 million dollars each.  This makes the sculpture cost well over $7 million dollars. This is big money even at a civic level, or perhaps one should say, especially at a civic level.  Manufactured in fibreglass and coated with Metalier liquid metal the strips are estimated to cost, in total, about $700,000 – 10% of the cost of the stainless steel sheet metal.  This is a saving of $6.3 million dollars.

Canterbury University are naturally keen to test Metalier for this role.  So far our own tests indicate that the metal coating will withstand the pressure put on it by the kinetic action.  Some of the strips lie in water when they are not being serpents and we know that water presents no problem for Metalier.  The real question now is how the fibreglass strips will perform.

Kinetic sculpture waves in the breeze.

I don’t know about you but I find kinetic sculptures mesmerizing.   I could watch them for hours swaying and changing as the wind blows.  Students at Canterbury University are working right now on a wand to be made of fibreglass or carbon fibre which will be coated with Metalier liquid metal.  This will be a great test for the Metalier coatings and another way we can showcase them to the world.

Please enjoy the sculpture Kinetic Rain in Changi Airport Singapore by German design firm Art+Com.  This sculpture moves by computer-controlled motors rather than the wind.  Rather better for indoors we think.

Artists, sculptors and kinetic addicts can contact us right here or fill in the form below to get in touch.


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yarn bombing

Yarn bombing | A Texan art-form

Yarn bombing - Something completely different!

Yarn-bombing was something new to the team from Metalier when it finished its world travels with a final stop-over in Austin Tx.  Austin, with its wonderful city slogan “Keeping Austin Weird” is the birthplace and home of the Metalier Nano Clear Coat so it was a fitting place for the team to visit.

Yarn bombing began in Houston, Texas in 2005 when Magda Sayeg cover her door handle with a cozy. The movement is now a worldwide one and goes under varying names such as yarnstorms
Guerilla knitting, kniffiti, urban knitting and graffiti knitting.  In fact, it is a form of graffiti and illegal in many places but its non-permanent and doesn’t damage the substrate.

It’s different from usual graffiti forms too. It’s mainly about reclaiming cold and sterile public spaces and doesn’t have the darker side of usual graffiti. It is an art form and can be very pretty – like the trees in the picture above.

The yarn bombing movement is not without wit either.  One artist calls herself Deadly Knitshade and in London UK there is a city knitting collective called “Knit the City”. There is a Knit Knot Tree display in Yellow Springs, Ohio. It was set up by the jafagirls as a thank you to trees for helping humanity. In New York City Yarn Bombing has been used for pole warming. It’s whimsical clever and fun.

At Metalier, we haven’t tried to knit with our metal coatings but we do use fabric, and lace in particular, to create stylish clever patterns. And we do have our flexible binder which can be used on fabric, cloth and rubber moulds.

We love to talk to you about your designs so contact us here or complete the form below.


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Metalier in France

Metalier in France

Metalier in France will be supported by the Hub in Birmingham, UK.

Contact details for the European hub at Granlyn are here.

But the HQ reps visiting the hub actually took a bit of time out in France to visit the Department of Ardeche in the Central Massif .  The Ardeche is one of the poorest and least populated departments in the whole of France but it is also one of the most beautiful. The hills of Ardeche couldn’t be anywhere else but France.

High on the list of priorities was a climb to the summit of Mont Mezenc, the highest mountain in the area. This was accompanied by a French lesson, largely unsuccessful, in how to pronounce differently “maison” for house and “mezenc” for the mountain. Sigh.

Mezenc is actually a very interesting area. It has developed a particular way of fattening beef by feeding them with hay. Hay was essential because of the shortage of pasture. The finest hay is fed to the cattle who are traditionally sold at Easter. A whole accreditation system has grown up around the practice.

Mezenc Fin du gras sounds elegant and sophisticated when said in French. Translated into English Mezenc Fat End is neither inspiring nor appetizing. It’s one of the examples of how a word for word translation can ruin the grace of the original.

Metalier in France – we’re looking forward to setting up there -well we sort of have a French name, don’t we? Metalier is a contrived word of our own derived from marrying Metal with the French word “Atelier” which translates as a workshop or studio, especially one used by an artists or designer. Metalier metals are an art-form and our team are artists and creators.

Contact us to find out when Metalier in France becomes a reality or if you think you would like to bring our metal system to that country. Or complete the form below.


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Metalier UK hub

Metalier UK Hub | Birmingham

The Metalier UK Hub is in Birmingham

The Metalier UK hub was the next stop on the international tour. Actually it’s also about to be the Metalier UK/Europe Hub too.

Birmingham sometimes gets a bad press but it’s actually very cultured with its orchestra, ballet, repertory theatre, library and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. They all have international reputations.  And there are also great grass roots art, music, literary and culinary scenes.

Amazingly, Birmingham is the fourth-most visited city in the UK by foreign visitors.

London, of course, is first by a long shot then Edinburgh (not unexpected), Manchester and Birmingham.

Just a quick train ride from London Euston, Birmingham is ideally located in the British West Midlands for the Metalier UK Hub. It’s also got a great compact international airport so is convenient for the likes of visitors from HQ and also from Europe. And sorry, but anything to avoid Heathrow if possible.

Not only all of this, but there are family members and friends there too. It’s just perfect!

Birmingham architecture is interesting too.

It’s a young city by European standards, having grown out of the Industrial Revolution. With the building of Selfridges in the Bullring Shopping Centre, it was one of the first cities to exhibit the blobitecture style.

What’s that, you might ask? Well “Blobitecture from blob architecture, blobism or blobismus are terms for a movement in architecture in which buildings have an organic, amoeba-shaped, building form.” The design for the 2003 Selfridges Building department store, was intended to “evoke the female silhouette and a famous ‘chainmail’ dress designed by Paco Rabanne in the 1960s.

I expect it is only coincidence that my favourite perfume for years, now sadly unavailable, was Paco Rabanne’s Metal.

Birmingham has heaps going for it, not just the Metalier UK Hub at Granlyn, although that’s right up there. Go to something artistic, eat something exciting and marvel at blobitecture. And if you want to contact Metalier UK their details are here – or you could fill in the form below.


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Welsh Castles

Architecture | Dubai to Welsh Castles

Welsh Castles are far away from Dubai!

From Dubai to North Wales, Conwy in fact, was the next stop on our 2015 jaunt  to say close to one of the most spectacular of the Welsh Castles. It sure is an architectural shift.

Castell Conwy (Conway Castle in English) was built in the 13th century by Edward I. It was constructed as part of a larger project to create a walled town in Conwy.  It and the defences of Conwy cost the gigantic sum of 15,000 pounds.

UNESCO considers Conwy to be one of “the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe” and it is classed as a World Heritage site.

It is also fascinating that it is one of the earliest stone machicolations in Britain.  Machicolation is a floor opening between the supporting corbels of a battlement.  Through these openings the castle inmates could adopt the charming practice of dropping stones and other objects onto attackers. Machicolation were more common in French castles than English ones – remember the French soldiers in Monty Python’s Holy Grail.

Architecture in Wales is not only about Welsh Castles

The Visit Wales site points out that there are many contemporary buildings adding “a sleek, stylish, eco-efficient edge” to parks, cities and heritage attractions. Buildings it singles out for mention include the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Caerphilli Castle Visitor Centre, Galeri Caernarfon, Hafod Eryri-Snowden Summit Building, the Millenium Stadium and Senedd, the National Assembly for Wales. It’s just as well that the reception area in this building is not the main chamber. Its ceiling and tree-like funnel would have most MPs gazing heavenwards most of the time, I’m sure.

One thing which we find disconcerting about travelling by car in Wales is that as you get further and further into the country the road signs feature Welsh on the top with English underneath. Welsh seems to take a lot more and longer words to say things than English. But there is no way I can train my eyes to start reading the sign from the middle.  I’m sure there’s a word for this.

And there are in spring or autumn 47 different shades of green to be seen in the vegetation of the Conwy valley. When you’re sick of exploring Welsh castles you can drink in the green of the valley.

Even when we’re travelling there are plenty of people working hard at Metalier while we’re not there. So contact them or complete the form below to chat about metal or anything else on your mind.


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Dubai Architecture

Dubai Architecture | Is it nuts?

Dubai Architecture in 2015

How to describe Dubai architecture? Extravagant, amazing, over-awing, or just plain nuts?

One blog certainly thinks it’s gone crazy. At one stage it had 15-25% of all the world’s cranes. The Dubai Waterfront will be the largest waterfront development in the world. There is an island in the sea that looks like a palm tree. Apparently you’ll be able to see it from the moon.  And then there is to be the World Islands – 300 artificially created islands in the shape of the world. And in 1990 it was a desert town.

The Burj al Arab is the crowning glory of Dubai Architecture

The Burj has always fascinated. Is it the sail shape, its own little island, that it was built by a NZ company, the helicopter landing pad where Agassi and Federer played tennis in 2005 or the fact that it’s so private? There is no such thing as tourists in shorts and sandshoes wandering in to have a bit of a look around. Mere mortals like us have to have a ticket and the cheapest way of getting access is to book drinks at the Skyview Bar on the 27th floor. The minimum spend on drinks is AED 350 per person which is about 95USD right now. Afternoon tea will set you back AED 620 per person (USD 168.79) but I bet the cucumber sandwiches are jolly nice.

In 2005 (pre the tennis match) we were passing through Dubai and were able to acquire tickets to cocktails at the Skyview. Everything about the visit was amazing – from being checked out by the guards on the hotel causeway, to our first glimpse of the massive foyer and atrium, to the amazing drinks and the mesmerizing view of the gulf.

The amount of gilt was eyewatering

The décor was Dubai architecture at its best. The gilt was everywhere and the accountant with us was driven crazy by trying to calculate what it would cost them to change out their gilt for Metalier Classic Gold for example.

In 2015 when I wrote this blog and now in 2018 it is still one of my BHAGs to stay there. Not the 2015 visit which was a fleeting one. But next time!

If you’d like to talk to us about your stay at the Burj or how you can exchange your gilt for Metalier contact us here or fill in the form below.


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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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