Steel tubes have taken centre stage in several recent architectural creations, including the world’s biggest cruise ship – giving a genuinely global reach to the use of this enduring material in construction.
First up, and much closer to home, a new shared working space has opened in London, called Atrium and designed by Tom Dixon.
The interior has a typically modern-industrial look and feel, combining exposed ceilings and classic office styles with inspiration from residential and hospitality establishments.
A major eye-catcher in the design is the custom lighting in the foyer of the building, a collection of steel pipes and tubes that when viewed from a certain angle, form the shape of the ‘I’ logo of building owners Interchange.
In Antwerp, luxury concept display space The Apartment has been fitted out by Belgian studio Muller Van Severen, and includes furniture built out of unpainted steel pipes with leather seats.
Photographer Fien Muller, one half of the design duo, told interiors magazine Dezeen: “We chose the materials because we think they are very pure.
“The leather is very natural; also, the steel tubes are not painted because we like the light in it. When you paint it, that’s gone.”
Finally, Sara Macefield wrote for The Times of her heart-racing experience aboard the Harmony of the Seas, the world’s biggest cruise ship.
In this case the steel tubes were more than decorative – they form the ten-storey high Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide on the high seas.
The entrance to the slide is some 45 metres above sea level, reached via the jaws of a giant fish and a see-through glass platform.
It’s all part of the theatre of cruise liners on this scale – and while the steel pipes might not be architectural in the same way as those mentioned above, they certainly still add a significant aesthetic element to the overall design of the ship.