Brass

From a raw material to a container of light

Ottone

Our challenge is to transform a material such as brass into a lightweight casing that encloses an infinite world of light. We refer to all our creations in this material as “The brasses”.

Cast brass

Working with cast brass is an intense procedure that requires dedication and passion. Brass is an alloy composed mainly of copper and zinc, with smaller quantities of tin, iron, nickel and aluminium.

The casting steps involve:

  • melting the brass in “crucibles” at a temperature of 1,000°C.
  • pouring the brass into special moulds from the crucible.
  • extraction of the piece from the mould when cooled and cleaning of impurities.

With these temperatures, the result is a product that is extremely resistant and suitable for exterior lighting, as it is truly weatherproof.

Metal spinning

Another process used with brass is spinning, which we will explain in a few lines. Metal spinning is an ancient technique that involves forming sheet material to obtain a product with a rounded shape. In detail, a copper or brass disk of a certain thickness is rotated at high speed on a lathe and pressed against a metal form using a special tool, which allows the work piece to acquire the desired shape.

This process can be performed on a manual lathe, as it was long ago, or with the use of modern lathes. Metal spinning is a technique suitable for various types of metal, including iron, aluminium, stainless steel, galvanised iron, brass and copper of up to 3 mm in thickness, depending on the material. Spun products can be easily recognised by their excellent finish, which makes the outer surface extremely shiny.

Brass aging process

Great attention is paid to details in all of Aldo Bernardi’s collections, in particular to the aging process. Aldo Bernardi proposes an aging process that tries to remain as faithful as possible to the natural oxidation process. In general, the natural copper oxidation depends on the action of the different elements present in the air on these elements. It varies from area to area.

These components have a decisive influence on the final color of the product. The colouring ranges from a burnished oxidation to a slightly darker one to a greenish one (the latter mainly involves the copper alloy).
To artificially achieve this final result, copper or brass are subjected, through a manual process, to a procedure that accelerates, but does not replace, the natural burnished oxidation or the subsequent greenish patina. The result may show variations due to the type of manual processing.

The object obtained is not intentionally painted. This allows the copper to naturally continue its antiquing process over time in relation to the various atmospheric agents present in that particular area. At the end of the process, the object is covered with a beeswax protection that insulates it, only temporarily, from the influence of atmospheric agents.



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