Posted on 4/24/2012 2:38 PM by Grace Jeffers

Perhaps one of the hallmarks of a great design firm is when they apply materials in a way that totally changes my perception. KGB-Limited in New York City has done just that by taking industrial, behind-the-scenes materials and working them with the careful hand of a French atelier. The result is a luxurious, dense materiality that speaks of excess, precision, and a lot of polishing.

We have asked KGB-Limited for a list of five of their favorite materials and examples of how they use them in their work:

1. Pyrex: We like it because glass is normally characterless, hard and cold and this material has an organic quality. The thickness of the glass and the inherent irregularities and occlusions make this one of our favorite materials.

Pyrex: Borosilicate glass is a type of glass with the main glass-forming constituents silica and boron oxide. Borosilicate glasses are best known for having very low coefficient of thermal expansion making them resistant to thermal shock, more so than any other common glass.

Originally, Pyrex was made from thermal shock resistant borosilicate glass. In 1998, Corning sold its consumer products division which subsequently adopted the name World Kitchen. Pyrex kitchen glassware manufactured and licensed for sale in the United States is now made of tempered soda lime glass at the World Kitchen facility in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. Pyrex products for the European Union continue to be made of borosilicate glass in France. Pyrex laboratory glassware is also still made of borosilicate glass. It is commonly used for telescope lenses. KGB uses borosilicate glass for table tops.

2. Silicon Bronze: We like this because of the warm rosy color due to its high copper content.

Silicon bronze usually contains about 96 percent copper. The remainder may be silicon alone, but more often a little manganese, tin, iron, or zinc also is added. These alloys were developed originally for the chemical industry because of their exceptional resistance to corrosion in many liquids.

This bronze is often used in casting bronze sculpture.

3. Solid White Marble: We like fabricating from single slabs of honed, white marble. This gives the pieces an integral strength and consistency of grain that would be impossible to imitate if constructed of several pieces; a perfect statement of quiet elegance.

Honed: a suede-like random finish with a little luster. A very smooth stone surface, just short of polished; imparted by a rubbing process, either hand or mechanical.

4. Molded Leather: We like making a self-supporting object from a hide of leather.

Molded leather process: leather is moistened and placed over a form or mold to harden. Used for carnival masks, saddles, motorcycle seats, etc.

5. Gold Plate: We like it because it’s color is unlike any other material. It is maintenance free and retains its luster. The hardware looks as new as the day we received it. We use 22 karat gold plated legs and hardware.

Gold plating is a method of depositing a thin layer of gold onto the surface of another metal, most often copper or silver (to make silver-gilt), by chemical or electrochemical plating.