ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products

Online client newsletter | June 2018

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Urban living

New business turns industrial steel barrels into
designer furniture

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Steel drums have been an integral part of the energy industry for more than a century. Now Urbn Barrel, a start-up from Cologne (Germany), is turning this utilitarian piece of equipment into a design statement for contemporary living. Using steel barrels which would otherwise be destined for the oil sector, Urbn Barrel handcrafts practical coffee tables which fit into almost any interior.

The idea for the coffee tables originated when Katharina Siepe and Moritz Kinkel met at university and decided to create a product together. Inspiration came from the full-size barrels which are used across Germany as standing tables in bars.

Moritz Kinkel (left) and Katharina Siepe (right) formed Urbn Barrel after meeting at university

The 220-litre barrels arrive in raw condition and are cut in half by Urbn Barrel

Industrial steel matches modern design ethos

“Industrial living is very big in Germany so materials such as steel and concrete are quite popular,” notes Katharina Siepe who is responsible for marketing and co-design of products at Urbn Barrel. “But we quickly realised that a whole 220-litre barrel was too big to fit into a modern living space.”

The barrels are made by Siepe, a company which specialises in the production of containers for consumer and industrial applications. Each barrel is formed from the cold forming
grade DC01A which is produced at ArcelorMittal Eisenhüttenstadt (Germany). The thickness of the steel is just 1 mm, making each barrel relatively light but strong. “We’ve tested the stability and load-bearing capacity of all our designs,” notes Moritz Kinkel. “They easily cope with loads up to 250 kilograms. The tables are very stable, very strong, even with two or three openings.”

Practical furniture for inside and out

“We experimented with the number of openings before we settled on the final designs,” explains Moritz Kinkel. “One thing that we discovered was that a steel top was quite noisy when you put down a glass. I contacted local carpenters who are now creating wooden tops for us in oak, cherry, alder, and nut.”

The paint system is extremely robust explains Katharina Siepe: “You can scratch the paint and it won’t mark. It’s ideal for homes with children or pets. The paint system and wooden top are both water resistant, so you can use your Urbn Barrel in the garden.”

The coffee tables can even be used outdoors thanks to the robust paint system

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