Kitchen Covet | Patinated Metal in the Kitchen

  • Brussels Apartment by AE Design


    Step inside seven kitchens from around the world that share a reverence for patinated metal.

    The passing of time, and its effect on materials, presents both an opportunity and a challenge for architects and designers. Whether out of necessity or not, most appear completely fascinated by it – so much so, they’re using ways of treating materials that replicate the spontaneous effects of time. This is particularly true for metal, whose ability to patina remains unmatched by any other material. American architect Noah Walker attested this in an interview with est; “Copper and bronze not only have beautiful patinas as they age, but they also possess anti-microbial and antiviral properties – critical in this era.” Inside these seven kitchens, patinated metal, in its many varying forms and finishes, is rewriting the definition of ‘beauty’ to simply read, ‘the passing of time’.

    Brussels Apartment by Æ Studio

    Æ Studio interior designers Arno Broeckhoven and Ellen Van Laer are at the helm of this minimalist apartment in Brussels, Belgium, described as the “perfect getaway” from the city centre. Gracing the pages of The Modern Craft Issue (Kitchen Compendium: pages 90 to 93), the Brussels Apartment kitchen perfectly articulates patina in the kitchen through copper-clad cabinetry. “The patinated copper was the key ingredient,” Arno says. “The colour, depth and gradient will keep evolving through the years, while the sleek lines and sharp corners make the welded copper cabinetry dramatic and stylish.” 

    “The patinated copper was the key ingredient. The colour, depth and gradient will keep on evolving through the years.”


    Arno Broeckhoven, Æ Design

    Cove House by ALWILL

    In Sydney’s Northern Beaches, architecture and interior design studio ALWILL have designed a home to the same tune as its tranquil surrounds, with a material palette inspired by Australia’s iconic bushlands and coastlines. Local metal artisan Brian Martin crafted the kitchen island out of aged bronze to represent the perpetuity of these surrounds, forming a strong companion to the natural timber joinery. 

    The Rough House by Niels Maier

    Cross-sectioning kitchens with patinated metal reveals a designer’s fascination with the past, engaging with the material to redefine age-old interior styles. In the case of this home in The Netherlands, architect Niels Maier reinterprets the familiar farmhouse aesthetic using aged brass in the kitchen. Combined with the exposed timber beams, the patina of the metal references the unconventional beauty that can be found in eroding materials and how we interact with this beauty daily.

    Darling Point by Phoebe Nicol

    Another common thread is patinated metal for dramatic effect, like in this seemingly all-neutral-toned apartment overlooking the Sydney Harbour, where blackened stainless steel and honed black quartzite crop up unexpectedly in the kitchen. Interior designer Phoebe Nicol aptly refers to this as “a beautiful synchronisation between raw and refined”; or, better still, a dramatic interplay between soft and robust.

    Coastal Home by Decus Interiors

    Lifting design cues from the surrounding native flora, this home on the coast of Western Australia is a seedbed of texture and colour. Sydney-based studio Decus Interiors were entrusted with the redesign, opting for materials you wouldn’t typically find in a home by the beach, such as the patinated bronze in the kitchen. Here we see patina used to invent new ways of displaying colour; in this instance, chocolate brown is depicted in the form of both timber and bronze.

    Lower Mill by McLaren.Excell

    London-based architecture practice McLaren.Excell adopted a similar approach to Niels Maier to restore this eighteenth-century water mill in the English countryside. The home’s kitchen has been clad entirely in a darkened raw-plate steel, expressing a clear sensibility with the building’s preserved cast-iron axles and cogs. The metal’s sheen results from a darkening technique that uses pure beeswax; an ode to age-old craftsmanship. “The light industrial origins of the building became our single most important preoccupation,” Luke McLaren says. “Like the mill, our work had to be simple, functional and honest.”

    Budge Over Dover by YSG Studio

    The real beauty of patinated metal is that no two applications are the same, especially when it comes to colour. An interior designer completely mesmerised by colour is Yasmine Ghoniem of YSG Studio. She attributes her self-described “over-zealous” application of colour, texture and pattern to her lack thereof growing up in the barren desert landscapes of the Middle East. “The desert was an unforgiving place, and I think it has really shaped my love for anything that is truly opposing to its vastness,” she says. In her award-winning Budge Over Dover project, located in Sydney, the dramatic stone kitchen island’s kickboard is made from mild steel with a lustrous-green patina.


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