Transcending era and fashion, the timeless appeal of steel windows and doors has endured over decades. Today, Steel Window Design is a young Melbourne-based company combining the classic charm of traditional steel windows and doors with a contemporary approach, driven by a passion for local design and manufacturing.
“Steel Window Design officially started back in 2014,” explains James Pridgeon, Founder and Director. “At the time, I was applying my trade working for another steel window manufacturer when I decided I was ready to do my own thing. We started small, beginning life on my living room floor, but have grown over the years to a team of 14.” For as long as he can remember, James has always been drawn to more hands-on professions, establishing a career path that has included machinist, draftsman, contractor and amateur mechanic, as well as time spent working abroad in London. “I have always wanted to run a business,” he says. “Steel windows certainly weren’t a natural progression, but I have always loved solving problems and working collaboratively with those around me. I feel I have been able to use the experiences of my past to help build the company I am so proud of today.”
Much like the material the product derives from, Steel Window Design is a company built on strong character, longevity, practicality and humility. These core pillars are all reflected in the strong culture that unites the growing team – every member of which, like James, draws on a diverse range of experience. “Dan, my right-hand man, comes from a cabinet making background,” he says. “Our skilled fabrication team is the backbone of the business, comprising of guys that have worked all over the world, achieving excellence in the field of fabrication, as well as guys we have trained from the ground up.” While steel windows and doors are undoubtedly a niche industry that does not always represent a straightforward career path, “in a way, this diversity is what makes our team so effective,” he reflects. “It’s a level of knowledge that really benefits what we are trying to achieve here. Ultimately, the team is in the perfect place to learn from one another in order to continually advance our product.”
On a material level, clients of the business are drawn to the numerous benefits of steel itself, the attractive combination of beauty and functionality it provides and to the process by which it is manufactured. “There is something incredibly special about a handmade product,” explains James. “Each product is different and has a unique character to it. It is such a great feeling to examine the small imperfections that can only be found in something that is truly handmade.” The universal appeal of steel from a design perspective means that the Steel Window Design product is suited to numerous commercial and residential applications. “The tactile nature of steel means we can go from extremely high-end residential environments into more industrial-type settings without ever lowering the quality of the finished product. What we are ultimately trying to do here is use the knowledge of our team to take steel to a level seldom seen before,” says James.
Not only renowned for the functionality and elegance of its steel window and door systems, Steel Window Design has also quickly established a reputation for customer service, completing projects on time and within budget. “The majority of our work comes from referrals, so it’s really important for us to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction,” James says. “Managing client expectations from the design and quoting stage right through to the installation process is integral to building our strong client relationships. We have an in-house drafting and design team that can work with the client to finesse their ideas before we move through into fabrication.” He also views it as the company’s responsibility to make the installation process as efficient as possible. “We offer an installation and glazing service that gives the client a complete end-to-end service,” he says. “We find that this complete service is beneficial to clients, builders and architects, as it provides them with less stress [and] valuable piece of mind.”
As the business has grown, James and his team have remained committed to their support of local design and industry. “We proudly use Australian steel and local suppliers,” he says. Similarly, Steel Window Design’s reputation for exceptional craftmanship and high attention to detail has helped to build longstanding collaborative relationships with many Australian architects, designers and builders. “We have loved working with the likes of Neil Architecture, Travis Walton, Biasol and Matthew Woodward Architecture on some amazing projects across Australia,” James says. In each instance, Steel Window Design has collaborated closely with the architects to achieve a bespoke result. “The most pleasing thing about some of these jobs is working with the designer to develop a completely custom solution that has helped to elevate the architecture of the project,” he reflects.
Through a local approach, Steel Window Design has created a contemporary interpretation on a time-honoured design with global origins – a timeless window to the world.