Paul Robinsons
Clare Burnett

Yorkshire steel cutter’s niche excites national designers

South Yorkshire’s Cutting Technologies is working with designers nationwide after seeing a tenfold increase in demand for an unusual metal, weathering steel.

Better known under the trademark Cor-Ten steel, has become a popular choice for designers and sculptors.

Barnsley-based Cutting Technologies has been working with the metal for several years but says it’s definitely in fashion with artists right now with a 1,000% increase in demand.

Cor-Ten looks like raw steel but when it’s exposed to the weather, it forms a natural rust-like appearance so there’s no need to paint it. The finish is variable and changing but non-corrosive, it’s a tough material which will withstand the elements without degrading.

Although it’s been traditionally used for years in the construction of bridges, motorways and shipping containers, it’s now become the material of choice for sculptors.

It is particularly popular in outdoor sculptures, such as the 33ft-high giant statue “Crossing (Vertical)” by Nigel Hall on loan to Barnsley town centre from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

It’s also used in the Angel of the North at Gateshead and Leeds Metropolitan University’s Broadcasting Place tower.

Jane Robinson, director of Cutting Technologies, said: “Weathering steel has been used industrially for decades to create numerous products including fencing, bridges, chimneys and in railways and ship building.

“But recently it’s become very popular with sculptors and as a feature in architecture. We are getting dozens of requests to laser cut Cor-Ten, it seems like it’s really flavour of the month.

“Cutting Technologies has been working with this metal for many years and we’re very experienced in handling it so it’s fantastic to be working alongside sculptures and artists to bring their designs to life.

“The metal goes rusty but doesn’t disintegrate and it has a very attractive appearance. Many of the rusty metal items on display at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show were Cor-Ten steel.”

Cutting Technologies recently laser-cut designs for artist Paul Robinson who used it in his ‘Descending’ the Staircase exhibition in London.

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