Alongside brass, hammered silver and brushed pewter, copper can be found in many households - in the shape of cooking pots, kitchen canisters, vases, trays and urns. The burnished sheen of copper makes it an attractive accent and designers are using it to develop new aesthetic sensibilities.
Dutch designer Aldo Bakker (aldobakker.com) has created the Copper Collection for Netherlands-based Thomas Eyck (thomaseyck.com). The pieces include globe-shaped mixing bowls, a candle dome (below), a stool (above) and a watering can that looks like a series of curved copper pipes.
British designer Tom Dixon (tomdixon.net; Hong Kong retailers include Lane Crawford and Ovo) has a line of copper lighting that's at once striking, modern and elegant: the Void is an overhead shade that resembles a giant Hershey's Kiss. The lights are inspired by Olympic medals - brass for gold, copper for bronze. They are made from solid metal sheets that are pressed, spun and brazed, then hand polished and lacquered to create a highly reflective surface.
Also from the Netherlands comes Tiddo de Ruiter's Copper Shade (tiddoderuiter.nl), a dramatic suspended light made of huge rectangular plates. Even more eclectic are the copper sculptures by Canadian artist Lynn Jackson (lynnjackson.ca), who uses knitted copper wires to create installation pieces - such as stockings, a bonnet, a rabbit and a child's dress - that are suitable only for the most avant-garde of nurseries.
More mainstream is the Kenroy Home Spot Accent Lighting Landscape Light (amazon.com, plus other retailers), which is part lighting fixture, part conversation piece. It looks like a slightly tilted urn on a pedestal and comes in a burnished copper finish.
Despite all its modern flourishes, there remains something uniquely old-world about copper. At United States-based Mogul Interior (mogulinterior.com), there are antique Indian copper cabinets with engravings of the Hindu deity Ganesha, as well as large traditional Indian copper cooking pots.