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A Flow State - The History and Evolution of the Proper Copper Tap

May 03, 2019

specialist copper mixer taps verdigris marble matt black tarnish patina

 

One thing that has always been at the heart of Proper Copper Design is Khan’s love for making taps. In 2016, the first tap was made, this was quickly installed into Khan’s Mum’s kitchen sink. It is still there, standing strong, we always laugh about the strong stance the taps have. There are three specialist finish taps in the workshop leant up against a wall, they sit and survey all the goings on, keeping a watchful eye while boasting their completely unique patina.

 

Figure 1 Three specialist finish copper taps in our Brighton workshop. Left to right: Verdigris, Marble and Matt Black

Figure 1 Three specialist finish taps in our Brighton workshop. Left to right: Verdigris, Marble and Matt Black

 

I wanted to write a blog post about our handcrafted copper taps, but I felt I couldn’t write a very good post without getting Khan to say a few words about the beginning of Proper Copper’s tap making adventure.

 

“My personal passion for all of this [Proper Copper] was crafting and making taps. First tap was made and put straight into mum’s kitchen. I always knew that the opportunities for this are fantastic, there are endless different designs and finishes that we can apply. I didn’t have any taps on the website for another year and a half after making that first Siene tap because we got so busy with other things that we weren’t prepared for and a whole business grew out of some copper handles”

 

It’s funny to think that the taps have been about since the beginning, but Proper Copper took off so quickly that there was never a moment to get them uploaded to our store. We now have 30 taps on our website and even more yet to come. All of our taps are available in four beautiful copper finishes, Natural Copper (always my favourite), Satin Lacquered, Matt Lacquered and High Polish and we have also just perfected our specialist finishes; Verdigris, Marble and Matt Black. Every tap we make is available in any of these finishes, that totals to 210 individual taps. Nic is currently in the process of completing our tap catalogue, if it’s anything like the handle catalogue he has just published, it's going to be outstanding.

 

Figure 2 Congo tap in our Brighton workshop
Figure 2 Siene tap in our Brighton workshop

 

This is our workshop tap, when I first joined Proper Copper we were carrying trays of coffee up the stairs 5 times a day and despite getting very good at not spilling anything, we were all so excited when we finally got to install our own workshop tap and kettle upstairs! This tap is in natural copper finish, you can see in this photo how dark and tarnished the copper has got over time of constant use. It's so beautiful how the copper picks up all these different hues, if I catch it in the right light, the tap almost looks purple.

 

Figure 3 Congo tap in our Brighton workshop, close up of tarnished copper patina
Figure 3 Siene tap in our Brighton workshop, close up of tarnished copper patina

 

The very first tap that was made was the Siene tap, below is a photograph of it propped up on some shelves in the original workshop and studio (yes, it is all inside that tiny shed!) Proper Copper was operating from Khan’s garden shed for over a year before moving to our much loved workshop in Brighton, UK. I missed out on the shed days, but I’m not sure I would have fit.

 

Figure 4 Khan's shed and original Proper Copper workshop, see the original Congo tap leaning to the left
Figure 4 Khan's shed and original Proper Copper workshop, see the original Siene tap leaning to the left

 

Now to talk a bit more about where we’re at now; Proper Copper is really coming into its own. We have just launched our new website, we are preparing to make a water feature for this year’s 100% Design exhibition, we are growing the business in all areas, which is something that has happened completely organically up until now.

 

Despite having a wealth of tap designs which are all available on our website, we are regularly approached by clients with their own designs. Our design team are always quick to make an understanding of these design ideas and create a beautiful finished bespoke piece, completely unique to our client. Half of all taps that we sell are bespoke orders and we thrive off working with our clients to help make their ideas into a physical piece. We have proved our capabilities as a workshop team by having bulk orders of bespoke taps come through while still maintaining regular functionality of our made to order products.

 

Figure 5 Bespoke tap design with Hot and Cold stamped stop cocks, this is 1 of 40 taps that were made to be sent to Manchester
Figure 5 Bespoke tap design with Hot and Cold stamped stop cocks, this is 1 of 40 taps that were made to be sent to Manchester

 

It’s so exciting to think that this funny little tap that came out of Khan’s back garden has now become so well travelled, we have sold taps all over the world with a majority of our orders coming from America. As our taps are all made with official plumbing fittings, they are also WRAS approved. They are also completely adaptable to any type of plumbing system; you can purchase your required adapter at any local plumbing merchants.

 

Figure 6 Behind the scenes of our very professional photography set up. Specialist finish taps and Robin, Ed and Nic enjoying a coffee in the sun earlier this year
Figure 6 Behind the scenes of our very professional photography set up. Specialist finish taps and Robin, Ed and Nic enjoying a coffee in the sun earlier this year

 

As the climate crisis is getting ever more evident, we don’t want to be caught up in the fast paced consumerism cycle, it is part of our ethos to reduce waste and we want our products to last you a lifetime, this isn’t just a fad tap that will last you a couple of years, we want to be the tap you rely on day after day which never goes out of fashion. They are built to last, we believe this, so we would like to assure you that we will always be here to help should you experience any problem with your tap.

 

By Ellie Harp





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