What are the containers made of?
All Bronzino® containers are made by hand from solid sheets of copper or zinc, and finished by hand using traditional patinas.
How are they made?
They are formed by hand, without moulds, in a traditional coppersmith’s workshop. We use traditional artisan techniques such as folding, riveting, welding and soldering. Planter rims and ribs are reinforced with bands of stainless steel.
How do you achieve the finishes?
We dip each planter into a chemical concoction to accelerate the oxidisation process and thereby create the finish. These concoctions can be centuries-old recipes handed down in families, and they vary from place to place. The precise colour of each finish can be affected by air humidity, so variations do occur.
Tin plated copper is the same finish traditionally used on cooking containers and only needs cleaning with a non-abrasive cleaning agent, or even soapy water, to maintain its brightness.
Our Mid Grey zinc finish is achieved by applying a traditional chemical concoction by hand. This results in some colour variation, which gives the surface its special character.
How do they weather outdoors?
All Bronzino® containers are given a protective waxing prior to delivery. This is the traditional finish for copper placed outdoors. This initial protective layer seals the patina and prevents it from oxidising further. For the patina to remain unchanged, coats of soft wax should be applied at regular intervals. For more information, please see our Care Sheet.
Over time, tin-plated copper will soften in appearance to a pewter-like finish. However, the brightness can easily be restored by washing with weak vinegar or diluted lemon juice.
It should be noted that zinc is relatively soft when compared with metals such as steel, and therefore slight dents and scratches do occur during use. These should be appreciated as part of the character of the metal. If a pristine look is required for your containers, we would recommend that you consider alternative materials.
What happens if Bronzino copper containers don’t get waxed?
When not protected by regular applications of wax, the copper will take on a more natural and varied patina. This will vary according to weather conditions and the site chosen for the containers. Unwaxed containers in the Dark Grey finish will pick up the easily recognised blue of oxidised copper, while those in the Bronze and Green finishes are more likely to remain closer to the original.
If left unwaxed, Natural copper will oxidise further, dim to a bronze / brown and then begin to collect blue or green around the edges. The chart below provides a general guide, although this can vary depending on local climatic and other conditions.
Chart used with permission from the Copper Development Association.
Is there a protective finish suitable for high traffic areas, or areas where acid cleaning agents are likely to be used?
For additional protection in high traffic areas, or areas where acid cleaning agents are likely to be used, we can give your planters a coat of matt cellulose lacquer at extra cost. Once the planter has been lacquered, we apply a top layer of wax. The wax should be re-applied regularly, as described in our care sheet, to prevent the lacquer from breaking down. Please note that planters treated with lacquer will not age and deepen in colour in the same way as planters treated with wax alone.
Bronzino planters should always be wrapped in polythene sheeting before surrounding areas are pressure washed or cleaned using chemicals.
To discuss your specific requirements, please contact us.
Will the containers rust?
Unlike ferrous metals, such as cast iron, which rust then decay, copper builds up a protective layer through oxidisation. This is what gives patinated copper its special colour.
Zinc sheet does not rust, and in fact offers excellent resistance against corrosion. It builds up a natural protective layer through oxidisation.
What will Bronzino zinc planters look like over time?
One of zinc’s greatest attributes is its longevity – it has an extremely long service life. The surface of zinc sheet naturally oxidises to form a thin layer of stable zinc carbonate, which ensures it requires virtually no maintenance.
However, we always recommend that zinc planters are fitted with GRP (glass-reinforced plastic) liners or painted inside with bitumen, to protect the interior surface from possible reaction with chemicals in soil. A landscape profesional can advise on the best method prior to installation.
Over time, the matt grey colour of our natural zinc containers usually deepens to a shade that resembles old lead, although variations can occur depending on local climatic and other conditions.
Our Mid Grey finish on zinc softens into layers of warm grey, with more exposed areas displaying characteristic zinc oxide highlights. Once again, tonal variations can occur depending on local climatic and other conditions.
Are Bronzino planters watertight?
Bronzino planters are not watertight as they are made using artisan techniques. We recommend that you follow instructions from a professional landscaper regarding the frequency of watering your plants. The build-up of water that results from overwatering can exert pressure which damages a planter’s joins.
Are there drainage holes?
Bronzino® containers and vases are supplied to order and therefore come with or without drainage holes. As most plants grow poorly in waterlogged soil, we provide drainage holes as standard. We drill the base with 5 holes, and a solid brass plate 5mm thick is riveted underneath. This lifts the base off the ground to allow free drainage.
If no drainage holes are required or if Bronzino planters are to be used indoors, you should take advice from a professional landscaper, who will be able to advise on the best type of liner to protect against unwanted water drainage. He or she will also be able to recommend suitable irrigation methods, and advise on related interior irrigation issues such as condensation.
All our planters are also stamped with the Bronzino®; logo on the base.
Can my planter be moved once it has been planted?
Bronzino planters should only be planted once they have been placed in the correct location. You may find it easier to leave plants in their original polythene containers until you are happy with the location of your planters.
If it becomes necessary to move a large planter (over 750mm wide) once it has been planted up, you should take advice from a professional landscaper, who will be able to advise on the best way to avoid damage to the plant and planter.
Planters less than 750 mm wide should also be moved with caution. Any plants and soil should be carefully removed before the planter is moved, and can be reinstated once the planter is in its correct position.
How long will I have to wait to get my planter?
Delivery is 10–12 weeks from when we receive confirmation and your 50% deposit on the order. However, it’s always worth asking which designs we currently have in stock, but please note that this does vary. Samples or seconds are occasionally available at reduced prices.
What is the environmental footprint and working environment?
Copper is a valuable metal with a high market cost, and has therefore always been saved and recycled as new sheet. Our containers will always retain the intrinsic value of the metal and as they do not decay will still be here in the future.
The workshop is staffed by skilled craftsmen who are part of a team. They have spacious and well-ventilated workshops. There is a dining room where management and craftsmen sit down together for lunch and tea breaks each day. We at Bronzino® have regular meetings in the workshop with the staff and working conditions are monitored.