Reinvented chic

For a variety of contemporary, affordable furniture pieces, LMI's showroom puts the world's best on display

Lounge room with green sofas and chairs, stainless apartment, estate, home, house, interior design, living room, property, real estate, room, window, gray
Lounge room with green sofas and chairs, stainless steel framed coffee table, rug and sliding doors leading to outdoor area.

Accessible international markets and evolving design trends can work together to push a no-nonsense, practical material into chic home design. Stainless steel is a good example. Once used mainly in industrial environments, this strong, rust-proof, albeit quite costly, material has become a darling of the modern domestic interior.

Kevin Swalling is company director of LMI Concepts, an importer of stainless steel furniture and frames into Australia. He says there are several reasons behind stainless steel's dramatic rise to popularity.

"Several factors have played a part in this," he says. "One influence is derived from stainless steel's traditional use in commercial settings, such as restaurant kitchens. Wanting to create the impression of professional efficiency on the home front, domestic appliance makers realised that stainless steel easily replicated this feel."

Familiarity can be a prime mover, and the popularity of stainless steel in the kitchen opens up its uses in other rooms.

"With international trade freeing up and production methods becoming robotic and streamlined, this previously expensive material has become an affordable option for domestic furniture generally," he says. "The same production processes and advances also see the welding and finishes generally refined another important plus for a home setting."

Changing fashions of furniture design also helped dictate the renewed interest in the material.

view of the contemporary indoor/outdoor furniture with stainless backyard, chair, deck, furniture, outdoor furniture, outdoor structure, patio, table, wood
view of the contemporary indoor/outdoor furniture with stainless steel framing and timber tops.

"Stainless steel's semi-industrial look and ability to support great weight for only a slender presence make it an ideal contender for a minimalist fit-out," says Swalling. "This factor alone has had a major effect on the material's market impact."

However, stainless steel isn't limited to pared back settings. With increased awareness of the material's use outside of industry and manufacturing advances, furniture designers have found many ways to mix stainless steel's cool look with other warmer materials, such as hardwoods, veneers, engineered and natural stone, and a variety of soft furnishings.

"When combined with softer-look materials, stainless steel is just as at home in a traditional interior as in a modern one."

Even the way we live has an effect on the materials we choose, Swalling says.

"With a huge emphasis now placed on indoor-outdoor living, interest in outdoor furniture has jumped, and with it the appearance of rust-proof stainless steel.

"From factory plant and benchtops to chairs, tables, stools and outdoor loungers, stainless steel has come a long way."

Kitchen and dining area with stainless steel framed countertop, dining room, floor, flooring, interior design, kitchen, living room, real estate, room, table, gray
Kitchen and dining area with stainless steel framed table, black chairs and red rug on floor tiles.

When sourcing new ideas for your interior, picking up a magazine or opening a web page might tell you what's hot in the homes of Paris and apartments of Milan. However, seeing a picture of the perfect dining table is one thing, but actually sourcing it and bringing it home can be a different story. Visiting a furniture importer with an eye for cutting-edge design offers a realistic alternative.

LMI Concepts imports a variety of clean-lined, contemporary furniture for the domestic and commercial markets, says director Kevin Swalling.

"You don't need to pay a fortune to outfit your home or office space with up-to-the-minute furniture today's styles are now more affordable thanks to new finishes and more efficient production methods," he says. "We work with prominent overseas furniture makers to bring together a versatile range of modern pieces to local clients."

The range includes bedroom furniture, chairs, stools, sofas, tables and units, as well as outdoor and office furniture.

LMI's furniture can be viewed at its 1000m² showroom, located 15 minutes from downtown Melbourne. Product details can also be accessed on its website.

For details, contact LMI Concepts, 69-75 Glenvale Cres, Mulgrave, Victoria 3170, phone (03) 9562 5646, fax (03) 9562 5962. Email: info@lmiconcepts.com.au, or visit the website: www.lmiconcepts.com.au.

Story by: Trendsideas

12 Jun, 2006

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