You may be surprised to learn that the most iconic display of architectural metal art was built in the late 1880s as part of a World’s Fair. The iron lattice tower commemorates the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution and is considered one of the seven wonders of the world. Despite fierce opposition to its initial construction, the Eiffel Tower has become the epitome of elegance in architectural metal art.
Architects are tasked with designing structures that are aesthetic and utilitarian. They combine art and engineering to put a human stamp on the natural world. Architectural art doesn’t have the same constraints. It has the latitude to add individual flair to a space design. Whether it is a bronze statue or a 900-foot tower, architectural metal art brings elegance to the world around us.
Fencing, Railings, and Gates
Wrought iron fencing is timeless. Classic films such as Citizen Kane use fencing to create a mood. European estates and manors used wrought iron fencing to evoke a sense of majesty. Yet, each instance was distinct.
The Victorians were the first to add details such as scrolls to the top and bottom of an iron picket. They also created ornamental finials to complement intricate spire designs. Wrought-iron fences became a statement of taste and wealth.
Today, wrought-iron fences (even though they are no longer made of iron) appear in city parks and around government buildings. Some maintain classic styles, while others try for a more contemporary look. Botanical gardens often intermix rustic metal fencing to highlight unique plantings. With myriad possibilities, fencing can become art.
Spaces using a simple fence can still have a little flair. Add a design to the gate. City spaces can incorporate the government seal; estates can make a family crest part of the gate design. Wineries should consider including a bottle of wine in their gate designs. Even if your fence is stone, a wrought-iron gate blends perfectly, making a personal statement come to life.
Who hasn’t dreamed of walking down a wide staircase like Leo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby? Part of the majesty of the stairs was the railings. Many railings for stairways or balconies are made from metals that lend themselves to creative designs. Some use scrolling while others repeat geometric shapes. Railings can add a touch of old-world charm to any venue.
Circulating water treatments can bring tranquility into an urban landscape. As people focus on getting from point A to point B, why not give them the opportunity to pause and reflect? Another world wonder is an excellent example of the soothing nature of water. The Taj Mahal, built in the mid-17th century, includes a large reflective pool, which encourages people to pause and reflect.
Walls are used to screen air conditioning units, transformer boxes, or other utility equipment. They may also be free-standing dividers that separate open spaces. Instead of putting up a plain wall, consider a metal water wall. Using some of today’s metals, panels can be constructed not only as metal art but also as water features that mimic light rain or a heavy downpour.
Cascading water features come in all shapes and sizes. From small tabletop displays to large public fountains, moving water soothes. For a distinctive look to a water feature, consider using architectural metal. Artistic designs could include water moving from one abstract design to another. For a winery or IPO, create steel barrels that water can flow through. The constructs of cascading water treatments are only limited by the imagination.
Think of the archways that front a pagoda or mark the entrance to a meditative space. Why not incorporate a wall of water into the design? Using architectural metals, create an archway with sleek lines. Let a curtain of water descend from the crossbar. The construct serves as a transparent divider or a focal point in any space.
When we think of industrial shelters, we think of those covered benches at bus stops. Canopies, covered walkways, and pergolas are examples of sheltering structures that can become architectural metal art. Canopies don’t have to be made out of canvas, and pergolas aren’t always made from wood. Covered walkways that connect one building to another do not have to look industrial. It just takes a little out-of-the-box thinking.
Canopies are often associated with awnings, many of which are made out of weather-resistant cloth. They don’t have to be. Decorative canopies are a unique way to make a statement. Design them with a curved outer edge or an intricate design around the frame. Let the art make an entryway stand out on a crowded street.
What better place to display architectural metal art than in a garden? Pergolas are usually square or rectangular because they are made of wood. Metals can be shaped to create a dome-shaped shelter covered with wisteria or bougainvillea. Rather than straight posts, add designs for a more personal touch. The possibilities are limitless and add elegance to a backyard or on the grounds of a resort.
Large business complexes, corporate campuses, and university grounds use covered walkways to move people from location to location. No one said a covered walkway needs to be flat, curved, or plain. Why not add a little lattice like the Eiffel Tower to the covering? For a visually attractive look, use a walkway cover to emulate waves or rolling hills.
Whether it’s a community space or a private estate, architectural metal art continues to carry an aura of tasteful elegance. Larger-than-life staircases demand intricate designs. A wrought-iron gate conveys personality before anyone crosses a threshold.
Metals are perfect for water features. Whether it’s an indoor water panel or an outdoor water curtain, the tranquility of moving water blends with the elegance of metal to create a quiet place to reflect and unwind. Let the soft sounds of cascading water add ambiance.
Reflect a little of the Eiffel Tower in the crossbeams of a pergola. The artistic touch will continue to hold visual interest even after the blooms fade. Why not give people a chance to enjoy metal art while sheltering from the elements. Anyone looking for a touch of elegance should consider architectural metal art. The enduring quality of metal ensures that the creation will be enjoyed for years to come.