Custom Metal Products of Distinction Since 1909


Metalwork in the 1920s – What’s Changed
Posted Wed, December 19, 2018

Two art deco metal doors with text above:

Throughout the years, advancements in technology have changed the ways metal is created, cut and designed. Today, many products can be manufactured through computer designs and machine implementation – but this wasn’t always the case. The 1920s was a period of change for America and Western Europe with the birth of new technology, a rebellious spirit and avant-garde practices. The impact of the 1920s on metal crafting was instrumental in the creation of today’s practices.

Coco Architectural has been in the metal fabrication industry for almost a century and has adjusted to the various advancements along the way. Between 1909 and 1930, our business made many developments in machinery, techniques and the products we fabricated.

Coco Brothers Inc. was established in 1909 with a focus on brass and bronze ornamental metal products. Rosario, Joseph and Jacob Coco developed their metal fabrication skillsets, growing the business with the launch of new products in 1927. These products included votive candelabras, communion rails and sanctuary ramps for churches nationwide. The launch of the Coco Brass Shower Door saw immense success as it was adopted by exclusive residences and all upscale New York City hotels throughout the end of the 1920s and the entirety of the 1930s. Our growth and developments in product design continuously correlate with the metal trends of the time.  

1920s metal trends

The Art Deco style permeated the 1920s with its pastiche of styles, materials, shapes and influences. Focused on forward momentum and modern progress, Art Deco pulled from the “ahead of its time” traditions of the avant-garde movement and geometric shapes to create modern designs. After it was introduced to the United States in the 1922 Chicago Tribune Tower design, it became one of the most commonly used styles in American architecture in the 1920s.

Simplicity was introduced to architectural designs through the rising of the Modernist trend of the 1920s. Beginning in Europe and slowly moving to the United States, the goal of modernist architecture was to create harmony between form and function without excessive embellishments.

Metal trends followed these major architectural movements through their incorporation into the exterior, interior and functional elements of construction. Buildings, such as skyscrapers, began to pair stainless steel and aluminum with Art Deco geometry in their exterior designs to enhance prestige and draw attention skyward.

Developments in metalworking in the 1920s

The American Welding Society was formed in 1919 by the Wartime Welding Committee to promote the advancement of welding and other allied processes. Electrode technology for welding and metal fabrication developed with the introduction of the coated electrode by the A.O. Smith Corporation. The coated electrode shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) process was further developed by the Lincoln Electric Company and became regularly used by the late 1920s.

The Lincoln Electric Company mass produced coated electrodes that improved the usability through an extrusion coating procedure to protect the electrodes from the atmosphere during the coating process.

Metalwork advancements since 1929

Automatic welding machines were developed and more widely used in the 1930s for projects such as steel construction and the fabrication of building floors. Innovation in welding grew alongside transportation advancements by welding submarines, automobiles and ships.

In 1965, the first laser for metal production was launched by Western Electric. In 1967, this idea was expanded upon by Peter Houldcroft, who created a laser-cutting nozzle with a CO2 laser beam and oxygen assist gas for industrial metal cutting. CO2 laser cutting systems did not become commercially available until 1975.

Today’s laser cutting equipment uses high power optics and micro-positioning systems, among other functional features. Here at Coco Architectural, we stay on top of the metal crafting trends by pairing our century-old knowledge and experience with top-of-the-line equipment and safety features. Whether you need a linear bar grille, perforated metal grille or custom metal product, our team is ready to help you find the perfect solution for your project. Download our product catalog or request a quote for more information.

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How a Custom Metal Grille Can Elevate Your Lobby
Posted Mon, November 19, 2018

How a Custom Metal Grille Can Elevate Your Lobby text over photo of metal grilles in the Beacon project

A lobby is an extension of your business. After all, it’s one of your first opportunities to make a good impression. Your lobby should look appealing and make your visitors feel welcome. Imagine walking into a lobby with expensive furniture, custom flooring and a beautiful front desk, but along the walls you notice a white store-bought grille covering the air return – sticking out like a sore thumb. Despite being small, something as simple as a metal grille can make or break a lobby’s aesthetic. Investing in a custom metal grille is the finishing touch to elevate your lobby and impress your clients.

How Coco does custom grilles

Custom metal products are one of our specialties at Coco Architectural Grilles & Metalcraft. We have been perfecting the art of custom metal fabrication for more than a century. Our team combines time-proven metal crafting techniques with state-of-the-art technology in our all-inclusive metal fabrication facility to create high-quality products. We have the capability to create replicas for historic renovations as well as custom, modern designs. If you can dream it, we can fabricate it.

When you order a custom metal product from Coco Architectural, our team will work with you to design, draft and engineer it prior to beginning the fabrication process. This fully-dimensioned shop drawing will display all features for your review and approval. Upon approval, your product will be manufactured via saw cutting, notching, shearing, bending, perforating, welding, laser or waterjet cutting and final finishing.

We offer custom metal grilles in a variety of metals including aluminum, brass, bronze, stainless steel and steel. Finishing options include satin/brushed, mirror polished, anodized colors, duranodic, baked enamel colors, blackened, statuary/antiqued and oil rubbed.

Our team has created many perforated, linear and custom grilles for various lobby projects. Here are two of our favorites.

80 8th Ave, NYC

We created an assortment of custom metal products for a 2017 project located at 80 8th Avenue in New York City. Our team was tasked with creating custom products to enhance the building’s grand entrance including a custom ornamental bronze grille over the entrance, a custom bronze header and jamb assembly for the newsstand and a custom bronze radiator enclosure with bar grilles in the lobby.

custom bronze radiator at 80 8th Avenue project in New York City

The custom bronze radiator enclosure was designed with a satin finish and custom linear bar grilles. This elevated the lobby by increasing the aesthetic impact from that of a cookie-cutter HVAC product while maintaining optimal functional performance. Even a simple radiator enclosure can add a touch of elegance to a business lobby.

Beacon in Jersey City, NJ

One of our favorite projects is the rehabilitation of The Beacon in Jersey City. Between 2007 and 2014, various teams worked to renovate the ten buildings on The Beacon property to their original state. We partnered with Anthony Guglielmo of Metal Man Restoration to restore the buildings’ architectural grilles.

custom metal grilles by elevators at The Beacon in Jersey City

We recreated the original grilles by the lobby elevators by tracing the patterns of the original fixtures that had begun deteriorating. Our team was able to use the drawings to recreate and reinstall the grilles, restoring the original flare to the space.

As you can see, we can create almost any metal fabrication project your lobby could need. This flexibility streamlines projects for our architects and contractors. Our clients know they will receive expert workmanship and an understanding of how each grille is intended to work in a design. If you already know what product you need, our team is ready to give you a quote and see what touches we can add to your project. For ideas and inspiration, download our catalog or contact our office.

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Antiqued Finish for Architectural Design
Posted Mon, November 12, 2018

Antiqued Finish for Architectural Design title photo with vintage spiral staircase

If you’re rehabilitating a historic property to keep its original charm, an antiqued finish is the ideal choice for your metal installations. Antique metal finishes have been a popular product among metal manufacturers for decades. Demand for the product soared in the 1970s and has continued its popularity to this day. Antiqued finishes are most popular on bronze and brass products, such as our perforated metal grilles. The treatment creates a classic look often desired in a lobby, bedroom, living room or ballroom.

How it works

The metal antiquing process begins with a thorough cleaning of the metal. It is important to remove all oils, buffing compounds, fingerprints, oxides and other materials to prepare for a high-quality finish.

Test the cleanliness of the metal grille with a water-break test. After completing the cleaning process, dip the grille into clean water. Remove the product and watch for where the water beads as it drips. The beaded areas are not completely clean, whereas the water will consistently flow off the clean areas without breaks.

Once the grille is clean, it is time to begin the finishing sequence. To achieve an antiqued finish, the underlying base metal is uncovered in certain areas to create a worn appearance. Essentially, the finish is removed from the highlights – keeping the lower areas as they are. This process can be completed by buffing, tumbling or vibrating.

A buffing machine is essentially a turntable with many buffing wheels (constructed of cotton discs approximately a half inch thick and three to four inches wide). As the grille is moved around the turntable, the buffing heads work on certain sections with abrasive or polishing compounds.

Tumbling machines create an antiqued finish by rolling the metals against each other in a rotating drum. A vibratory finisher operates similarly in a bowl instead of a drum. By using wet or dry metals – or ceramic or plastic additions – these machines can buff the grille in unique ways. While you would think this would create randomized results, the machines can be programmed to create identical products time after time.   

After the desired antiqued finish is completed, a topcoat is applied to protect the grille from tarnish or corrosion. Typically, this solution is a clear lacquer.

brass and bronze pipes

Why choose an antiqued finish

At Coco Architectural, we offer antiqued finishes on brass and bronze products. These metals are optimal base metals for antiqued results. Brass and bronze contain high levels of copper, which creates a beautiful result after the buffing, tumbling or vibratory techniques are applied.

Many designers aim to maintain the original aesthetic during a historic renovation project. Antiqued finishes create the perfect design. You can install high-quality, new metal grilles that look like they are original to the building. Our team can construct custom metal products to match the original design when replacing the corroded or broken originals.

Our linear bar grilles, perforated metal grilles and custom metal products are all manufactured with the same standard of excellence and commitment to customer satisfaction. We offer a wide variety of metal finishing options including satin/brushed, mirror polished, anodized, duranodic, baked enamel colors, blackened, statuary/antiqued and oil rubbed. If you’re considering adding a specific metal finish to your project, download our catalog for compatible products and request a free quote.

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Anodized Aluminum Finishes for Architectural Design
Posted Mon, November 5, 2018

Anodized Aluminum for Architectural Design feature photo with a metal grille across crown molding

Anodized aluminum is the ideal choice for many projects. From highly durable building exteriors to staircases in skyscrapers, anodized aluminum has a wide versatility for architectural design. It’s even trusted to protect satellites in space.

The sleek appearance of anodized aluminum is coveted by architectural designers. We’ve broken down the basics of anodized aluminum to help you determine if it’s the best solution for your project.

What is Anodized Aluminum?

Anodized aluminum is the final product of a finishing process called anodizing. To create anodized aluminum, the aluminum is placed into an anodizing tank containing a mounted plate (an electrode where electrons enter a cell and cause reduction). The aluminum is then submersed into an acid electrolyte solution while an electric current is passed through the tank.

Once the aluminum is submerged, a positive electric charge is added to it, causing it to become an anode. A negative charge is then applied to the plate, making it the cathode. The positive ions gravitate to the plate while the negative ions rush to the aluminum. This process is essentially a highly controlled oxidation process which results in anodized aluminum.

Colorants can be added to the anodization process where the pigment fills the empty pores on the surface of the aluminum and is permanently sealed. Color anodized aluminum has a metallic appearance due to the rough surface left behind after the electro-chemical process and the reaction between the electrical current, colorant, and uncolored metal.

Benefits of Using Anodized Aluminum

There are a variety of benefits of using anodized aluminum which are evidenced by the wide use of anodized aluminum in commercial, industrial, and consumer projects. Not only is it significantly lighter than copper, gold, brass, bronze, and stainless steel, but it has a strong formability, allowing it to be reshaped into many different designs.

cylinders of aluminum

Aluminum’s ease of use is bolstered by its durability. Aluminum is naturally resistant to most forms of corrosion and the anodization process increases its weather resistance. Since the anodized finish becomes a part of the metal through the oxidation process, it will not peel, chip, or flake away. During anodization, the base aluminum is enhanced with a corrosion-resistant and very strong finish, creating an extended lifespan.

Aluminum is also considered to be environmentally friendly and recyclable, lessening the architectural design’s environmental footprint. According to the Aluminum Association, approximately 75 percent of all aluminum produced since its introduction to the United States in 1990 is still in use. In addition, anodized aluminum is a much greener finish than coatings like paint. Anodizing is “recycle-neutral” and does not use toxic organics or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) prohibited by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Anodized aluminum is a crowd favorite among the architectural community. At Coco Architectural, we offer a variety of anodized colors and finishes for a variety of projects. View our product catalog for a detailed list of our products. For a consultation or to order perforated grilles today, contact us at 631.482.9449 or

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History of the Parquet Perforated Metal Grille Pattern
Posted Thu, November 1, 2018

History of the Parquet Perforated Grille Pattern featuring photo of the parquet perforated grille

The parquet perforated grille pattern (CA815) is a popular choice for historic renovations hearkening back to the 17th century, as well as contemporary spaces with geometric themes.

Parquet (pronounced pahr-kay) is French for “flooring”, a term derived from the French word parc, translated to “an enclosure”. Parquet encompasses a variety of patterns and ornamentations to create unique, fluid designs. Essentially, the parquet design is made of geometric patterns, typically angular with squares, diamonds or triangles.

The origin of parquet

In 17th-century France, marble was the preferred flooring for the elite population, compared to dirt and concrete floors among the lower class. The most famous example of parquet flooring is seen in the  Palace of Versailles. Louis XIII began construction on the palace in 1630, yet the project was not completed until 1963. At this point, Nicodème Tessin, a Swedish Baroque architect, wrote, “parquetry is quite like paneling. There’s one single room in Versailles which parquet is not by squares…the entire rest is diamond-shaped in the new style.”

The parquet de Versailles was widely popular in the 18th century and was kept in style through Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI. At the time, only a few professionals had the skill required to hand-cut and lay the wood in the proper patterns, so parquet flooring was considered a work of art and only available to the extremely wealthy. To construct parquet flooring, geometric shapes are cut out of wood and glued to a concrete sub-floor. The pattern was adopted by other well-to-do aristocrats and modified to fit their taste.

example of parquet flooring in the Palace of Versailles

[“Salon de Mars” by Jorge Láscar is licensed under CC BY 2.0.]

Another example of parquet flooring among the elite is found at The Château de Maisons-Lafitte, which features parquet flooring with floral ornamentations. Luckily, these architectural works of art are still viewable today. After Louis XVI was forced to leave the Palace of Versailles during the French Revolution, the building was still considered a work of art. In 1837, it became the Museum of History in France by King Louis-Phillippe.

Parquet patterns

There are a wide variety of parquet patterns, the most popular of which is herringbone. Other patterns include brick, hexagon weave, Bordeaux, Brentwood, Celtic, Chantilly, Versailles, chevron, basket weave and others. The key to parquet flooring is to begin in one section of the room (in Versailles, the flooring always began at the fireplace) and move to the other end. This keeps the pattern unidirectional and uniform.

parquet pattern created with rustic wood floor

CA815 Parquet Perforated Grille

The CA815 Parquet perforated grille is based on the square basket weave parquet pattern. The alternating directions of the squares create an entrancing design popular in both historic renovations and contemporary builds. This pattern provides 30 percent free air flow through the 1 3/16” squares.

Is the parquet perforated grill the perfect perforated metal grille for your space? Our team is happy to discuss installation options or assist you in selecting an alternative pattern. Make sure to view our product catalog for a full, detailed list of our products. For a consultation or to order your perforated grilles today, contact us at 631.482.9449 or


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Satin Stainless Steel for Architectural Design
Posted Mon, October 29, 2018

Satin Stainless Steel for Architectural Design - satin stainless steel outdoor installation

A satin metal finish, also known as No. 4 in industry terms, is an all-purpose, polished finish that gives the metal a smooth, unidirectional appearance. Available for aluminum, brass, bronze and stainless steel, the satin finish is a trendy addition for most projects. Here at Coco Architectural Grilles & Metalcraft, we offer satin/brushed finishes where the smooth, frosted look of satin stainless steel is achieved through a brushing technique.

How it works

Satin finishes are created through a process called metal brushing. This can be achieved with a metal brush, sandpaper or another abrasive material. In many cases, a grit belt is used for speed and efficiency.

After the metal has been cut into the chosen grille pattern, it is polished with a fine bristled brush in a unidirectional motion. It is then softened with a greaseless grit compound or abrasive, nonwoven belt or pad to create a matte finish. The result is a frosted appearance with fine lines in the direction of the brushing.

satin stainless steel

Why satin stainless steel

Satin stainless steel not only protects the metal from rust and corrosion, it also creates a trendy, modern appearance. Satin finishes are popular in heavily trafficked areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and stairs, as it is not likely to smudge or show fingerprints.

This finish is also commonly used in rooms with natural lighting because the metal becomes less reflective after the satin finish is applied. This creates the satin sheen the finish is named after.

Our linear bar grilles, perforated metal grilles and custom metal products are all manufactured with the same standard of excellence and commitment to customer satisfaction. We offer a wide variety of metal finishing options including: satin/brushed, mirror polished, anodized colors, duranodic, baked enamel colors, blackened, statuary/antiqued, and oil rubbed.

If you’re considering adding a specific metal finish to your project, download our catalog for compatible products and request a free quote.

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