George Longstaff founded Metal Art Ltd in 1990 when he recognized the niche opportunities present in a growing commercial furniture market. From its humble beginnings in Lower Hutt, the business rapidly developed a reputation as a responsive and reliable manufacturer of quality metal components. Initially, the creative people at Metal Art focused their attention on architectural table and chair frames, indoor plant containers and associated metal products for the interior designs of quality commercial and government office fit-outs.
Such was the early success of Metal Art that demand for its powder coated products outstripped the local industry’s ability to supply. So George and his brother Jim established their own powder coating plant in 1992. To this day Powder Coating Services Ltd operates alongside Metal Art to ensure a complete and prompt solution wherever a powder coated finish is required.
As Metal Art grew, George and his team of industry specialists saw their work featured in government departments, banks, insurance companies, hotels, universities and the latest trendy restaurants. In 1996 George’s son Carl, a chartered accountant, entered the business after working for several years in private sector financial management. Carl’s corporate experience and enthusiasm for continuing to grow the business complemented George’s technical expertise and intimate knowledge of the market, and the company continued to expand.
Metal Art’s production base soon included Ferrunique wrought iron garden furniture designed for the residential market and the stylish Simply Steel range of coat, hat and umbrella stands, The company’s range of skill-sets was further demonstrated with its involvement in public artworks, including the colourful smiling windmills at Avalon Park in Lower Hutt, and the Urban Forest installation at Evans Bay near Wellington Airport. Metal art wall features were also added to the company’s resumé around this time.
With its creations increasingly featuring in the public arena, the Metal Art team was earning a growing reputation as a reliable manufacturer in an increasingly competitive market. Its position as a supplier to the public sector was further strengthened with acquisitions that have kept Metal Art on its continuous growth path.
In 2008 the rights to produce Metallion street furniture and bollards were acquired. This gave Metal Art the capacity to combine production of high-quality outdoor seating, bins and bollards - Metallion’s iconic Golden Mile street furniture is a feature of Wellington ‘s Lambton Quarter – with the flexibility it has always displayed for small production runs in response to individual customer specifications.
In 2009 Metal Art diversified further. To complement its ever-increasing range of metal products, the company began working with a quite different material when it was engaged as New Zealand distributor for Replas recycled plastic products. Recognising that the life cycle of finite resources must be maximized for the sake of future generations, Metal Art became supplier of the Replas range of recycled plastic products. Replas products are made from a material that not only demonstrates the sustainability message so often heard but not seen in practice, but which also happens to be the ideal long-term solution in New Zealand’s harsh physical environment.
From small beginnings working with office furniture designers and manufacturers, Metal Art is now a leading force in the creation of functional and stylish corporate office and public spaces throughout New Zealand. Today Metal Art and its associated powder coating plant occupy their own purpose-built 1,400 square metres of factory space in Port Road, Seaview, where they continue to turn out their wide range of stock and customized products. As it has done since its formation, Metal Art is continuing to look forward. Its designers have some exciting innovations in the pipeline, including a new range of green wall indoor plant arrangements.
While Metal Art has grown and diversified, its people remain committed to excellence in all they do, maintaining their well-earned reputation as providers of quality solutions that meet each and every customer need.