“Let’s crank some metal,” read the t-shirts worn by members of Chemetal’s production team, sales and office staff (on more casual days) and by lucky outsiders. The line and emblem are also imprinted on the wall of Chemetal’s newly expanded 70,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Western Massachusetts. Why? It’s what this second generation family-owned company does daily, creating metal designs and laminates for interior spaces. And these days the company is focused on blackened, aged and neutral tones.
The look deftly emulates the aesthetic of blackened and cold rolled steel, imbuing interior spaces with a calming beauty. Made with aluminum, the sheets offer a softer, easier and – usually – a less expensive metal to fabricate than steel.
“Chemetal works to bring the luxury of metal into interior spaces, and tries to make it relatively easy,” says Chemetal President and Creative Director Geoff Schaefer. The company created the ALU finishes, blackened aluminum designs with gentle linear variation. They’re available in light, medium and dark finishes.
Chemetal abrades and darkens the metal, and even uses CNCs for the initial brushing, but the final finishing is done by hand. “It’s a human touch and softness even on metal,” says Schaefer, “that a machine cannot create.”
While the new designs are sophisticated and versatile, the inspiration for Chemetal’s blackened steel finishes is refreshingly unpretentious. Several years ago, the pre-teen children of a few Chemetal employees were fans of iCarly – a popular 2000s American kids tv show. The show’s set design featured a metallic factory door everyone liked, and someone said, “Let’s make that here.”
The result was Factory and Factory Dark, two large format designs ideal in feature positions on counter fronts and columns. The design’s industrial look pairs well with chunky barn wood looks and can also ground modern design spaces with a bold and striking feature wall. For a more subtle background effect, Chemetal’s portfolio includes a wide variety of neutral tones to foster a rich mood.
In addition to making designs in-house, Chemetal sources materials, including blackened and aged metals, from other places, like Germany, Japan, and domestic USA suppliers.
It all adds up to a massive collection of metal designs that includes anodized and hpl metals as well as aged and patinated copper and brass designs. “We look closely at weird stuff like brass door handles and funny pieces of metal most people pass by daily,” says Schaefer. “We stop, space out on it and think, ‘How can we do that on a full sheet of metal?’”
This content was published by Azure on behalf of Chemetal.
Emulating the look of weathered and cold rolled steel, Chemetal’s finishes offer an easy way to a luxurious aesthetic.