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Cube Conference Room

Contrarian Micro Textures

Sometimes it’s about substance. SHW Group’s floating conference room, dubbed The Cube and designed by architect Mike Hall, sits above the lobby of their atrium in Plano, Texas. The lofty conference room’s western side is covered with Austenite 55 Stainless Steel. A handsome finish that captures the light and reflects it, adding interest and distinction to the room, Austenite 55 Stainless Steel is one of the many distinctively finished stainless steels from Contrarian Metal Resources of Allison Park, PA.

The loft is cantilevered out into the atrium, forming the office, and is visible from the outside. It makes a statement when entering the atrium that was designed to interest clients as well as future employees. It is a remarkable way to add space without relocating or undertaking the cost of a major renovation. It uses less power than a rooftop system. It is a very green space as it uses the natural light of the atrium, utilizes existing space and is clad in Austenite 55 stainless steel. In addition to being able to stand the test of time, the metal is fingerprint and corrosion resistant, and is easy to clean. The savings that come with minimal maintenance is a benefit that should not be underestimated in trying economic times.

The design and development of The Cube began with the branding of SHW Group two years ago. Employees were asked to put things that they valued about SHW Group into a 3” x 3” cube.

When it came time to expand our space, architect Mike Hall suggested The Cube as an idea that was a symbolic element for their organization. A team of eleven led the project and as it progressed a sonnet was written by Ellis Heitzke-Kirkdorffer.

The cube is located within a 2-1/2-story atrium at the building’s entrance. Three walls of the 22’x22’ cube are glass while the fourth is Austenite 55. The cube is 10’ above the floor and is 12’ high. Sound is absorbed with a textile ceiling and carpeting. Mecho shades are used on the windows to diffuse the light.

When researching finishes, what caught the SHW Group material coordinator’s attention about Austenite 55 was that fact that it is 80% recycled stainless steel. “It almost looks like a mosaic; there is a lot of movement in the material that reflects well, which adds to the room,” explained Hall.

SHW Group is currently LEED Silver on their space. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures.

Austenite 55 gets high marks for corrosion resistance, cleanability and fingerprint resistance. It also offers visual uniformity and good flatness for installation. Contrarian Metal Resources distributes the product, which is manufactured by Thyssen Krupp Nirosta®. According to Jim Halliday, President of CMR, “Austenite 55 is a remarkable finish with a variety of facets in the surface that create a dramatic effect from reflected light. It sparkles as you walk past it.”

“The finish looks architectural grade,” says Randy Richenberger, of Eklund’s, Inc., the installer on the project. “It is a very attractive metal, a great substitute for standard stainless steel for not much more money that brings out that architectural element.” he added.

About Contrarian Micro Textures

Rigidized-logoContrarian Micro Textures by Rigidized Metals, formerly Contrarian Metal Resources, is a micro-textured line of high-performance architectural metals including stainless steel and titanium. For more information, visit

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