Archive for Art and Sculpture

Further Electroless Nickel Plating for Designer Thomas Heatherwick

nickel plated extruded benchesAs readers of our blog will know, NiTEC UK had the pleasure of electroless nickel plating a number of extruded benches on behalf of the English designer Thomas Heatherwick. Heatherwick’s recent projects have included the Olympic Cauldron for the London Olympics and the Garden Bridge across the River Thames. These projects, and several others, have meant that Heatherwick’s popularity and exposure has increased dramatically over the past few months, boosting his profile as an incredibly well respected and admired designer.

Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge across the Thames

The Garden Bridge followed Transport for London’s tender for proposals to improve pedestrian links across the Thames. Thomas Heatherwick and British actor and campaigner Joanna Lumley developed an idea for a pedestrian ‘Garden Bridge’ across the river. The bridge would connect the North and South of the city with a garden, adding to London’s diverse horticultural heritage.

Nickel Plated Extruded Benches

Since the rise in Heatherwick’s profile, many pieces of work created by the designer have become very desirable. This includes his famous benches, which involve manufacturing aluminium components through an industrial process called extrusion.

The process involves squeezing heated metal through a shaped hole which is known as die. The heated metal produces straight aluminium lengths with a precisely shaped cross section. Extrusion often produces contorted shapes when the metal initially squeezes through the die because the metal is inclined to snag warp as it struggles to fit through the gap. The form eventually straightens out and usually during this process; the contorted end is chopped off and melted back down.

We are, of course, delighted to be electroless nickel plating further benches on behalf of Thomas Heatherwick, and also excited about the future of his design career. His recent projects have all been notable, and received positive feedback from many, so it’s great to be involved in another of his projects.

UK Electroless Nickel Plating Service

Contact us today on 0845 224 3571 or email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk to talk through your electroless nickel plating requirements and see how NiTEC can provide high quality processes at a cost to suit your business.

Copper Plated Benches and Patinated Copper Archways for the Chelsea Flower Show

The 2015 Chelsea Flower Show is now in full swing, and this year’s entries are as strong as ever! The show is held for 5 days in May by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London. As the most famous and celebrated flower show in the UK, it attracts garden designers and visitors from all over the world.

Copper Plating for the Brewin Dolphin Garden

brewin dolphin gardenLast year, we were lucky enough to be involved in copper plating benches and patinated copper archways for The Brewin Dolphin Garden at The Chelsea Flower Show. The garden won a Silver-gilt medal and featured fresh, lush planting, copper plated features and generous paths and sculpture.

Gold Medal for the Brewin Dolphin Garden 2015

This year, The Brewin Dolphin Garden was designed by Darren Hawkes Landscapes and built by Bowles and Wyer with Wheelbarrow. The garden features over 40,000 pieces of hand-cut slate that form the surface of the suspended platforms. There is also an underground stream that is glimpsed through well openings, one of which is illuminated by sunlight shining through a hole in the platform above. It was announced this morning that this year’s garden beat it’s Silver-gilt medal from last year with an impressive Gold!

Professional Copper Plating Services in Chesterfield, UK

As you can see, bright copper plating can be used decoratively, giving a highly polished copper-pink appearance. Our metal plating experts also have a range of lacquers available for copper plating solutions which prevent tarnishing of the copper plating, if it is intended for a decorative purpose.

Here at NiTEC UK, we’ve been asked to carry out some great copper plating jobs for a variety of clients. For more information about the copper plating services available at NiTEC UK, copper platers in Chesterfield, contact us on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk

NiTEC Electroless Nickel Plate Extruded Benches for Thomas Heatherwick

nickel plated extruded benchesNiTEC UK have been lucky enough to be involved in the nickel plating of a number of extruded benches for English designer Thomas Heatherwick.

Known for his innovative designs and creative use of engineering and materials to produce public monuments and sculptures, Heatherwick works across the disciplines of architecture, art and design.

These amazing extruded benches began life in Heatherwick’s design and architecture studio when working on a project that involved manufacturing aluminium components through an industrial process called extrusion.

Extrusion and the Production of Contorted Shapes

The process of extrusion involves squeezing heated metal through a shaped hole which is known as die. The heated metal produces straight aluminium lengths with a precisely shaped cross section. Extrusion often produces contorted shapes when the metal initially squeezes through the die because the metal is inclined to snag warp as it struggles to fit through the gap. The form eventually straightens out and usually during this process; the contorted end is chopped off and melted back down.

But Heatherwick considered the mutated sections to be more interesting than the straight parts, and decided to produce more warped lengths of extruded aluminium on a much larger scale! The designer then wondered if it would be possible to use the extrusion process to create seating, much of which was needed at the time to furnish new airports and stations being built around the world. Heatherwick saw it as a simple but effective alternative to ordinary furniture that needed to be  made up of several components and materials. These extruded seats could be made all in one go, with the legs and back of the seat formed all at once.

Nickel Plating Aluminium Benches

So, the Heatherwick studio hunted for a machine capable of making this dream a reality for more than 16 years, until they finally came across a new extrusion machine that had been built in the Far East. The machine was designed for use in the aerospace industry and had the capability of exerting ten thousand tonnes of pressure. The factory it came from could not actually guarantee the outcome of the experiment because the machine had never been used to its full capacity.

Using this specialised die, Heatherwick and his studio staff made a series of aluminium benches with straight, extruded lengths, and contrasting raw, contorted ends. We were asked to carry out the electroless nickel plating of the benches in order to provide a high quality surface that would be very resistant to wear.

For more information about our recent case studies and details of other great projects that we’ve been lucky enough to be a part of, check out the metal plating case studies page on the NiTEC website.

Copper Plating for The Brewin Dolphin Garden at The Chelsea Flower Show

We were recently involved in copper plating some absolutely fantastic pieces for The Brewin Dolphin Garden at The Chelsea Flower Show. Sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, built by Bowles & Wyer Contracts and designed by Matthew Childs, the garden made quite an impression at the famous yearly flower show, earning a Silver-gilt medal.

brewin dolphin gardenCopper Plated Benches and Patinated Copper Archways

According to the Royal Horticultural Society, the garden “highlights opportunities to nurture potential for the future.” Brewin Dolphin’s heritage of nurturing and preserving wealth was reflected in the calm, tranquil spaces and the fresh, lush planting. There were also a variety of bold, engaging elements including copper plated benches, patinated copper archways and generous paths and sculpture.

The RHS said the garden “symbolised emerging opportunities and Brewin Dolphin’s forward-thinking approach. Investing in relationships was also a key part of the garden, demonstrated by the inclusion of a sociable entertaining space.”

matthew childsGarden Designer Matthew Childs

In addition to Matthew Childs’ success at the Chelsea Flower Show, he also received a gold medal and ‘Best Conceptual Garden’ at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2012 for the garden ‘Light at the end of the tunnel’, and in 2013 he returned to the Hampton Court Palace Flower show with a show garden for Ecover which was awarded a gold medal and ‘Best in Show’.

As you can see, the The Brewin Dolphin Garden is a really gorgeous space, created by a very talented garden designer. This garden was Matthew Childs’ debut contribution to the Chelsea Flower Show. As a designer of unique, award winning gardens and landscapes for private and commercial clients, Matthew must be over the moon with his input into this years’ show.

UK Copper Plating Service

Here at NiTEC, we’ve been asked to carry out some great copper plating jobs for a variety of clients. As you can see from above, copper plating is fantastic for decorative applications. For more information about the copper plating services available at NiTEC UK, copper platers in Chesterfield, contact us on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk

Nickel Plate Outdoor Metal Sculptures for Corrosion Resistance

As specialists in the electroless nickel plating process, we have previously worked with metal sculptor David Mach, and have nickel plated a few of his pieces. For example, we nickel plated his spaceman and gorilla sculptures which are both made from coat hangers.

nickel plated garden sculptureElectroless nickel can coat metal such as mild steel or stainless steel and make it last for years – that’s why the process of nickel plating is simply perfect for outdoor sculptures. Its corrosion resistance properties and its ability to withstand adverse weather conditions make it the perfect plating solution for metal garden sculptures, and any other sculpture that will be displayed outside.

Large Capacity Electroless Nickel Plating Tanks

The process of electroless nickel plating deposits a uniform coating on to whatever it is plating, and compared to stainless steel, it is also relatively cheap. Our huge nickel plating tanks that are big enough to accommodate very large pieces of sculpture, such as garden sculptures and bespoke pieces such as those plated for David Mach.

The main reason Mach decided on electroless nickel plating to plate his pieces was due to its excellent corrosion resistance and the assurance that gave him that the piece would look stunning for years to come, no matter where it was located. In fact, the corrosion resistance offered by electroless nickel plating is actually better than stainless steel!

A Great Alternative to Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is very resistant to corrosion, and can therefore be used when the levels of hardness of the metal are important. But using electroless nickel plating as an alternative to stainless steel has many advantages. Mild steel or cast iron with an electroless nickel coating is a much more cost effective way of achieving high levels of hardness and corrosion resistance.

The process of electroless nickel plating is a great way to prevent corrosion from occurring on outdoor sculptures made from metal. If you are interested in the process as a cheaper alternative to stainless steel, contact NiTEC on 0845 2243571 or email web@nitec-enp.co.uk and we’ll show you how much you can save.

Electroless Nickel Plating a Mild Steel Phoenix Sculpture

Here at NiTEC, we are regularly approached by artists and metal sculptors who want a cost effective, corrosion resistant method of plating their work. As you can imagine, sculptures made of any material are susceptible to wear, corrosion, and weather damage as a result of the elements. That’s why using a coating such as electroless nickel plating is perfect for metal sculptures that are to be displayed outside; the nickel coating is incredibly corrosion resistant and can protect the piece for tens of years to come.

Electroless Nickel Plating for Sculptures

This particular sculpture was commissioned for use at the entrance to an industrial park in Castleford in West Yorkshire. Fabricated using mild steel, the sculpture took the shape of a phoenix with its wings spread, rising from what appeared to be an abstract representation of flames. It really was a truly stunning piece of sculpture; there was something very majestic and impressive about its large open wings and long bowed head.

The staff at NiTEC built a special plating tank in order to accommodate the phoenix sculpture, one that would be big enough to comfortably house the piece and ensure that the nickel plating process would achieve the best and most accurate results. The sculpture itself was a very delicate and complicated shape; the wings alone were made up of a number of intricate metal feathers which had many recesses and sharp angles that needed to be covered fully with the electroless nickel coating.

Corrosion Resistance and Protection from the Elements

Electroless nickel plating is the perfect metal plating solution for projects with unusual and complex shapes such as this sculpture because the electroless nickel can be deposited evenly on its surface. It will also ensure that the sculpture is protected against the formation of rust, and will not flake or chip like a painted surface can do.

If you are an artist or metal sculptor and you would like more information about the advantages of using electroless nickel plating to prevent corrosion and wear on sculptures, contact NiTEC UK on 0845 224 3571 or email: info@nitec-enp.co.uk