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Woven wire mesh is one of the decorative interior metal products for which we have been renowned producers for a very long time. We have been producing decorative woven mesh since our inception in 1881. The production of woven wire mesh was one of the main reasons for which James Gilbert and Son was started in the first place and whilst we still manufacture the same styles using some of the same methods that were used over 135 years ago we are also constantly expanding our ranges.
The beauty of real woven wire mesh is that it has both a physical texture and an aesthetic appeal that tell the story of the unique method of its manufacture. The weaving process is one of the oldest manufacturing methods in human history and although the manufacturing methods may have evolved over the millennia the alternating of horizontal and vertical strands in such a way that they hold each other together to form a sheet without bonding is still the same as it was thousands of years ago. This process gives a material otherwise available in strands, or in the case of metals, in wires, the opportunity to take on forms of great practical use and aesthetic beauty far beyond the sum total of them being grouped together in any other way.
To enhance the decorative nature of woven mesh it can be woven in a variety of different ways to achieve startlingly different effects. Wires of differing profiles, thicknesses and materials can be woven together in infinite combinations. Wires thinner than human hairs can be combined to form exquisitely coloured, shimmering fabrics for fashion, architectural screening and the interior and lighting design industries.
This is the type in which we specialize. Woven wire mesh is used in interior design for decorative screens and panels where partial obscuration of the view is required whilst also allowing the free flow of air. The most practical applications of wire mesh in interior design are for decorative grilles for radiator covers and for air vent covers for air conditioning systems.
Woven wire mesh for interiors is most often made from brass as this metal not only has its own natural beauty but also lends itself to colouring in a wide variety of ways. Due to its high copper content brass can be professionally polished and patinated by ourselves to look any age between brand new and 500 years old. It can also undergo a bronzing process to look like aged or antique bronze metal or plated with chrome or nickel to achieve a variety of shades and gloss levels of silver. Nickel is particularly popular as it provides a warmer silver than chrome.
None of these colouring and plating processes detract from the elegant and timeless form of the woven structure of the decorative mesh panels themselves, in fact most of them enhance it.
Decorative woven mesh can also be made from aluminium or stainless steel. Stainless steel is the strongest of the standard woven mesh materials. Both the brass and the stainless steel woven wire mesh can be made in round or flat wires. These types of woven mesh can be further embellished with ‘reeding’. A flat wire than has been reeded will have decorative lines running along its length. Woven mesh that has this type of decoration on the wires is called reeded and wire mesh that has no reeding is referred to as plain. The reeded wire tends to make a mesh panel look more detailed and slightly busier than its plain counterpart. If a grille is ordered without a backing mesh it will be reversible with one side being reeded and the other plain. Provided the grille is supplied in the original colour of the base metal from which it is made then the customer can choose which side they prefer on display. If the grilles have undertaken a colouring process such as patination, it could be that this patination process prioritized the side that was specified in the first place so the grille would not be reversible under these circumstances. If it had been plated however that process would apply a layer of new metal to both sides of the wire mesh equally so the panel would still be reversible. If it is essential that both side of the grille look exactly the same i.e. are both reeded or both plain, on a cupboard door for example, then this must be specified at the point of ordering and would be regarded as a special order.
The process of deciding which woven wire mesh style to choose, when faced with so many options can be daunting. That is why we have put considerable effort into taking high quality pictures and displaying them in an easily controllable interactive interface as close to the actual size as possible. Quite often the choice is simply an aesthetic one. Other factors may include how much of what is behind the woven mesh panel should be seen or not seen and this is often governed by the size of the hole or whether a combination of woven wire meshes are chosen to combine into one panel. A wire mesh with large holes and narrow wires will obviously have a higher percentage open area than a mesh panel with small holes and wide wires.
Decorative woven meshes can be combined in layers so that a large holed open woven grille can achieve a higher opacity by having a finer mesh fitted to the back of it. This will have the effect of obscuring more of what is behind the original grille than by the use of the grille itself. This is a popular option where a coarse from mesh panel is required but also a high level of obscuration of what is behind the mesh panel. The latter of these two factors is frequently the case as what is most often behind these mesh panels is either a radiator or an air conditioning duct. Only if the woven panel has been created as a decorative dividing screen would someone be desirous of seeing what is behind a woven panel. The secondary finer mesh is referred to as a backing mesh and will have not only smaller holes but also much thinner wires. The effect of this can be that the from a distance the backing mesh looks almost like a uniform material. There are two standard types of backing mesh: fine, with 16 holes per inch and coarse with 8 holes per inch. It is assumed that unless otherwise specified the backing mesh will be in the same finish as the front grille. Other decorative effects can also be achieved by using contrasting coloured meshes, which have either been sprayed a colour or are made from different materials. The most popular version of that is to have a brass front grille enhanced by the addition of a black backing mesh.
James Gilbert & Son specialises in high quality decorative metalwork. We are the world's oldest manufacturer of decorative metal grilles. Over the last 135 years we've produced architectural quality metal works for some of the biggest brands on the planet, yet we don't forget our roots nor our smaller customers.
We use manufacturing, polishing and patinating techniques that we have honed to perfection for over a century, alongside contemporary engineering technologies.
At the centre of our business are decorative grilles including hand woven-wire and regency grilles, decorative screens and panels with associated frames and decorative metalwork. These grace some of the finest hospitality and entertainment venues, public buildings and private residences the length and breadth of the U.K. and beyond.
We have expanded our core range to produce products which befit modern living; offering a greater range of materials, designs and finishes than ever before. This range includes floor grilles, air conditioning grilles, air vents, radiator covers, decorative screens, frames, inlays, endings, cladding materials, security products, shelving systems, furniture, fittings and much more.
We are always using our knowledge and experience to bring innovative products and metal processing techniques to the market and our 2016 range includes a whole portfolio of new materials designed to contrast and compliment our metalwork. The location of our central London works makes us ideally located for supplying high quality decorative metalwork at short notice to satisfy the fast paced requirements of London’s design and construction industries.
We provide a fully comprehensive decorative metalwork manufacturing service. Our brass, bronze and steel products including radiator and floor grilles, furniture, fixtures and fittings are dispatched all over the world. We work with architects, interior designers, construction contractors and fit out companies, product designers and private clients on contemporary and historic projects where a high standard and attention to detail are required. We are more than happy to instruct and advise your on site contractors to ensure fitted products are applied correctly. With our extensive experience of processing and chemically treating metals, all our decorative metal grilles and associated decorative metal products can be treated to make the finish match the style and era of the project. We also colour match existing finishes if samples of original pieces are supplied. We have fully equipped metal working facilities with both historic and state-of-the-art machinery, which means our skilled craftsmen can truly fulfil your decorative interior and architectural metalwork requirements.
Whether your project involves the restoration of a single item – such as the supply of a single radiator grille - or the complete refurbishment of a modern department store or chain of historic hotels, please send us details of the project now including measurements, photographs, architectural drawings, CAD files, pdf’s, sketches on envelopes, pipe cleaner models, vague notions and loose concepts are all accepted as starting points. The best results are achieved when we are included in the early stages of a project from where we are happy to advise and be on hand to help all the way through to completion. Let us initiate the discussion as to how we can help you now, and we look forward to working with you!
We guarantee that you will be more than happy with our decorative grilles. If you have any queries, please get in touch.