As creator of the world’s first rubberized paint that could conform to intricate metal surfaces without deformation, The Steelcote Manufacturing Company played an integral role in enabling the sleek lines and refinement of modern design. From paints with fungicide to coatings used by NASA, Steelcote was an innovator in the paint industry and inextricably linked with the progress of industrial design.
Renovation of the Steelcote Manufacturing plant explores the process of refinement which all industrial products must undergo. Prototyping begins with crude concept models that undergo rapid iterations to test and refine the object into a final design for production.
Akin to this process and sited in St. Louis’ Mill Creek Valley, Steelcote Lofts appear quite unrefined upon first glance. The existing concrete frame and brick infill express the storied history of the building. Public spaces convey a level of refinement with polished concrete floors and distinct new work which highlights board formed concrete and exposed industrial columns. A crafted network of electrical conduits on each floor plays on the industrial systems of contemporary buildings, adding detail to the exposed nature of public spaces. Within the units, contemporary kitchens and bathrooms achieve the highest level of refinement, deliberately arranged so as to contrast the original character of the building. Mechanical systems are carefully concealed, while specific surfaces use accent colors from the original Steelcote palette.
Pushing the envelope of distinction from typical loft design, Steelcote Lofts embraces the innovative history in industrial refinement, beholden of its namesake.