Historically, copper tube has been most commonly used in plumbing, HVAC, refrigeration and medical gas applications; universally praised for its reliability, resilience, versatility, energy saving, health and eco friendly attributes. In recent times however, copper is becoming increasingly in demand for its aesthetic beauty; bringing modest copper tube to the forefront of design material in a myriad of platforms.
Copper has long been utilised for its unparalleled aesthetics in architecture and interior design. More than 5000 years ago, the rudiments of copper craftsmanship made its way from the early Sumerians and Chaldeans of Mesopotamia to the river banks of Egypt, where it continued to flourish in design for thousands of years. This marked the beginning of an unrelenting copper trend, thriving across continents as the paramount material in casting of homewares, tool making and art throughout the ancient world.
Since acting as each shiny, distinctive petal of the Thomas Heatherwick designed London Olympic Cauldron, copper made its lustrous comeback at the 2012 London Design Festival. With copper-loving designer Tom Dixon awarded Paris’ Maison & Objet Designer of the Year in 2014, and at least one unique copper homeware piece making its way into every minimalist home interior in Australia; it seems the copper trend is as resilient as the metal itself.
Industrial minimalist design has recently trended from home interiors into the hospitality industry. Exposed copper plumbing, contemporary copper lighting and vintage looking copper urniture are all the rage of indie, hipster alluring cafes and bars across the country. Kürtosh, the Hungarian inspired patisserie with eclectic cafes across Sydney, has opened their newest cafe in Wollongong, donning every inch of the concreted, industrial themed interior with copper accents; from tables, chairs and lighting, to exposed-plumbing water bubblers.
The design material of the moment, copper tube, has now made its way into the fashion retail industry. Eyestyle, an Australian owned business founded in 1978, which launched its vintage prestige sunglasses business online, has recently presented its customers with modish pop-up boutique stores across Paris, New York and Tokyo. Its latest pop-up store in Surry Hills has embraced the industrial interior trend by “playing on the industrial theme of the building” and installing Kembla® Copper Tube as the centrepiece of its retail space. Perspex fittings were attached to the vertical lengths of Kembla tube cascading out of the minimalistic white concrete wall, to create a visually stunning interactive sunglasses display. Director Justin Sneddon’s decision to use the multifaceted material in his retail space has proven to steal the attention away from Eyestyle products themselves, with customers and international media “showing more interest in the copper tube and furniture than the sunglasses”.
It is clear that copper has continued to prevail in the modern age of design. Inspired by its traditionally industrial use, it is the modest yet inimitably handsome copper tube that takes the spotlight in the midst of the industrial minimalist trend, making its gleaming way through the hospitality and retail industries.