I have a side-project involving the construction of aquarium stands in a style that might be referred to as ‘raw industrial’. That is, furniture that is made from steel, plywood and other sturdy, inexpensive and readily available materials that is assembled such that no attempt is made to hide its utilitarian nature. I remember seeing this kind of design here and there about ten years ago and it might already be passé. The familiar examples that I have found are the interiors of a certain chain of faux-Mexican eateries, where this style is somewhat overdone.
However, I think that it is worthwhile to explore this notion. The following are a few advantages that the use of such elements and building techniques might offer:
- innovation and novelty
- easily assembled with basic power tools and readily available materials
- demand no advanced woodworking skills
- visually complementary to similar styles of architecture and interior design
- visually complementary to affordable and readily available glass aquariums and other aquarium equipment
The last of these points is the most compelling. Among aquarium hobbyists who make efforts to integrate their displays into their home decors are some who have sought ‘contemporary’ style cabinetry with spare, clean lines that is paired with rimless aquariums. The most common application of the much more common rimmed tanks is with cabinets that overlap the black plastic rim. The present effort, on the other hand, seeks to incorporate the plastic rim as part of the design by using other elements having comparably unfinished appearances.
The picture below demonstrates the construction that I used to build a stand for a 65G Tall aquarium. I think that the wood was western red cedar. Each of the eight corners was joined with a steel framing connector.
The beautiful, warm tones of the wood contrasted against the galvanized metal. This relationship might reinforce the idea of an aquarium for a viewer–a quite artificial box that encloses a dynamic miniature ecosystem and many living things.
The next picture shows the stand with the tank. Since this tank was used for an open-topped riparium composition I removed the top plastic frame. This step would have been inadvisable for an aquarium of this type of construction if I had planned to fill it to the top with water.
I have since planted up this tank. I added a painted and varnished plywood shelf that holds the canister filter and a couple of houseplants. It looks nice. I will try to post an updated picture.