Today’s kitchens aren’t all about glittery silver, brushed stainless steel, nickel or chrome. These cool tones of metal have had their day, but these days their popularity is on the decline. Brass was very popular in the 1970’s and it’s now making something of a comeback from obscurity. It first started appearing here and there in table legs, wall hangings or accents like pendant lights. Brass has a unique warmth and bold look that some people are starting to embrace as stainless steel starts to appear a bit too commonplace.
The Common Man’s Gold is the Designer’s New Friend
Copper and bronze have a similar warm golden tone, but they also cost more. Brass, on the other hand, is an alloy of copper and zinc that is often used in doorknockers, plumbing parts, and musical instruments. Top designers such as Jonathan Adler, Michael S. Smith and Kelly Wearstler to name just a few have been incorporating brass into their designs by using brass barware, lamps, desks, polished chairs, and much more. Now we’re seeing more and more brass in the catalogues of mainstream furniture sellers. Affordable, classic and retro at the same time, brass is the new toy of 21st century design.
Brass isn’t just showing up in home furnishings, but also in electronics where black and silver used to rule. Costly electronic gadgets are now being made in brass finishes. Also brass has been gaining ground in kitchen design with new offerings from Grohe, Kohler and many other manufacturers.
The Beginnings of a Brass Revolution
For ages, kitchen faucets have tended towards the silver-colored finishes. About ten years ago, a designer named Tom Dixon began to challenge this trend. He was influenced by the North African love of brass cookware, and he started to play around with brass kitchen fittings and fixtures. To him, brass was much more warm and “human” than the cold stainless steel look or even blackened brass that was available at that time.
Within a few years, brass started to be a popular finish for faucets and even for kitchen sinks. Kohler led the pack as always with two different brass designs: one with a traditional feel and one with a more futuristic aesthetic.
All That’s Yellow Isn’t Brass (But that’s okay)
Not all yellow-hued metals are brass. Copper and bronze can also have a golden tone as well. Brass has an almost golden-brown color that can darken over time due to corrosion or oxidization. For many people, this patina is part of the appeal of brass. Picture a sink and faucet fixture made of brass, gracefully aging with a mottling of shiny patches and darker spots. Together with all the other colors of your electronics, utensils and pans, this color mixture makes a statement and it’s a nice change from the overly sterile silver tones of recent years.