Credit: Winni Wintermeyer
When Russ Naylor, AIA, a partner at San Francisco–based NC2 Studio, was faced with having to use standard pipe railings in a 2008 apartment complex project, he decided that instead of sacrificing aesthetics for a budget, he would just design his own. “We thought, ‘What if we make this out of steel?’ and a eureka moment went off,” he says. So Naylor—with his partner Heddie Chu and senior associate Andrew Volckens—developed a railing system and founded Bok Modern to design, market, and distribute it. Over the past two years, the company has expanded to offer gates, stairs, screens, and panels. The system is typically made from aluminum with a Kynar finish or cold-rolled steel with a zinc-primed powdercoat, but Cor-Ten steel, stainless steel, copper, and other materials can also be used. Patterns (there are now over 50 standard, with custom options available) are laser-cut into the metal, and structural elements, such as brackets, are integrated into the panels. Though primarily marketed in California, the system can be specified anywhere and manufactured in any facility outfitted with laser cutters and CNC brakes. “We send them shop drawings and they can do it locally,” Naylor says; this can contribute to LEED credits for local materials.