Brass: Beauty and Brawn
Though timeless by nature, brass has come back into the forefront of modern design in recent years, and for good reason. Brass has an innate luxuriousness and warmth of hue that often feels more welcoming than gold, likely due to its typically more worn-in look. Contributing to its return to the mainstream is its ability to complement or contrast popular modern design materials, like wood, marble, and other metals. It’s often used to bring a pop of brightness to settings with a darker color pallet.
Brass isn’t only used for its appealing aesthetic, though. The practical minded appreciate the copper and zinc alloy’s durability, versatility, and long-lifespan. In fact, in the right conditions, brass can last hundreds of years.
From mechanical and functional to ornamental and everything in between, few alloys serve such a wide range of applications. Examples include hinges and brackets, sinks, stove hoods, ornamental panels, furniture, light fixtures, banisters and railings.
Patination in Outdoor and Indoor Settings
Brass can be enjoyed in both indoor and outdoor settings and can withstand every climate. However, when employing unlacquered brass in outdoor architectural elements it is important to consider how your particular climate will cause the metal to patina. Patina refers to the change in color that is brought on by the oxidation of copper alloys, or by some other forced chemical treatment. There are a variety of color variations that can occur through this process.
For example, if your metalwork resides in a wet, coastal location, your outdoor brass will experience a quicker natural patina than those in dry areas, likely turning the green-blue color commonly associated with brass patination. This is due to the sodium chloride ions. While very desirable to many, the look of a natural patina is not for every taste or project, so it’s important to understand how your brass will change over time to ensure you will love your brass elements for years to come.
While we’ve touched upon how an unlacquered brass can naturally patina, this and many other effects can also be achieved manually. When it comes to brass elements in indoor settings, you have much more control of how you would like your brass to look.
Brass Treatments and Finishes
There are a variety of treatments and finishes available for your brass project. Which option you choose to go with will depend on what you’re trying to achieve. Here are some of the more popular brass finishes and treatments we use in architectural elements and bespoke pieces: