Fountain Reflections


The ‘Spin’ Fountain

Spin water feature, Hertfordshire, Arcangel

Stainless Steel Spin water feature.

With Julie Toll masterminding the overall design of the Manor House gardens, Arcangel returned to the house once again to work with Julie on the next project, the ‘Spin’ fountain.

An existing water feature in the flower & vegetable garden, was relocated to another area and the client commissioned Arcangel to design a water feature that would have height and standing with the aims of being able to ‘see through’ the structure. The keyword for this project being ‘grativas’.

Having presented various designs for the feature, the client was immediately drawn to the Spin Fountain, which we took away to develop further.

Our choice of material was stainless steel, we had to go back to old school techniques in order to develop the design using this material, to the set budget. Modern technology tends to lead to using programmes such as CAD design, or laser cutting to produce modern sculptures, but Arcangel embrace a more artisan approach for their bespoke metalwork, using traditional welding skills and producing everything by hand.

Arcangel are passionate about hand crafting metal sculptures, as this gives a more natural effect that modern workings are unable to capture. The old school ways of hand and hand tools, produces the desired natural effect. You need to be confident in your ability with these methods, in order to be able to overcome any problems that may arise when using these old school techniques. It’s part of the challenge and excitement in the unique work that we do.

On initial viewing the fountain is very simplistic in design, composing of 4 main elements. However, amazingly the complexity of 4000 individual elements are hidden from view to create this simplistic impression.

We based this design on the Fibonacci sequence. We hadn’t used this sequence before, but we felt that as these ratios are often seen in nature (think snail shell), it would work for our sculpture, subconsciously the shapes would look natural in the garden environment.


Fibonacci ssequence, bespoke metalwork, Arcangel Ltd

Fibonacci sequence used in the Spin Fountain design

With water being a significant source that nourishes all areas of the garden, it was symbolic that the water feature could be seen from all sections of the garden, with all garden paths flowing to the central focal point. The Spin fountain was framed perfectly and created a strong, representative and dominant presence.

Challenges of Metal Sculptures

One of the less obvious skills when welding is being able to predict the movement of the metal when subjected to heat, this is particularly true of stainless steel. With years of experience Arcangel can pre-empt this movement when welding, to achieve a desired shape.

With a lot of patience and dedication, it took a period of 2 people 8 weeks to make, totalling 720 man hours.  When finished, the feature was even better than we had hoped for!

Once installed in its pride of place, we loved the presence it gave to the garden. It’s thanks to working with a designer that has a strong vision and a clear brief that we could follow through on, that our ‘Spin Feature’ fitted the brief perfectly and went beyond its expectations.

It was different, we hadn’t seen anything like this before, it leaves a lasting impression which is probably why it has earned many admirers since taking its place, including a feature on Alan Titchmarsh’s ‘Love Your Garden’ TV programme in 2015.

The garden will be open to the public on Sunday 22nd May 2016, visit for more information.

For further details on water features that we can design for you, contact us to discuss further.

Spin water feature at night, Hertfordshire, Arcangel

Spin Water Feature


Inspirational Metal Garden Gates


‘Peacock’ Metal Garden Gates

Bespoke Metal Gates, Arcangel Ltd, Hertfordshire

Peacock Metal Gates, Hertfordshire, Arcangel Ltd

The landscape of Hertfordshire with its far-reaching views can be admired throughout the year and seasons, but is particularly magical in winter. Within this setting, a Tudor House with three and a half acres of immaculately designed gardens, graces the landscape. It was in this idyllic setting, Arcangel Ltd were able to create two metal garden gate designs for the enchanting gardens, reflecting the existing garden imagery.

Julie Toll an outstanding and well respected Garden Designer, contacted Arcangel to arrange to meet at The Manor House, with a view to creating a set of bespoke metal garden gates to the front of the house. The client’s brief for the garden gates was to be able to maintain the existing wall garden structure and shape, working to the height and symmetry of the wall.

Gate Design

Peacock Gate design, bespoke metalwork, Arcangel Ltd

Original drawings for gates by Arcangel Ltd

With views that stretch out over the magnificent countryside, the setting played an important part of the design for this garden.  In fact, one country character appeared on cue as if to lend it’s fine display as an inspiration for the design – The Peacock. Renowned for their superb, beautiful tall, tail feather displays, and series of ‘eyes’ on display when fanned, the design was born.

We provided several metal gate designs to Julie, the Peacock design being a strong, clear winner.

The imposing pair of stainless-steel ‘Peacock gates’ were created and installed, fanning out into the existing structures between the posts and the curved wall. Maintaining the height of the wall, being a strong structural design, yet not solid, the gates indulge their surroundings and entice you to look what lies beyond.

Garden Side Gates

Bespoke Pear Gates, Bronze and Stainless Steel, Hertfordshire, Arcangel

Bespoke metal Pear Gates by Arcangel Ltd

The next set of bespoke metal gates that we were asked to create were for the entrance to the kitchen garden.

The gate designs needed to compliment the simple natural beauty of the garden, the garden elements should relate closely with structures surrounding them. We wanted to capture the sophistication of the structural forms, the simple planting and strong geometric shapes that gave this garden its elegance.

We took nature’s lead and designed a set of steel garden gates in the shape of espalier pear trees, creating an enticing entrance to the kitchen garden.

Attention to detail, fine craftsmanship and quality materials, were key in recreating the patterns and formations of the trees and their delicate leaves. The metal gates represent the heart and soul of the kitchen garden, and when opened lead you onto an enchanting path.

The garden will be open to the public on Sunday 22nd May 2016, visit for more information.

If you are considering bespoke metal gates for your home or garden, contact us to discuss further.

As featured in February 2016 issue of House and Garden

Celebrating 25 years of Bespoke Metalwork

A Look At The Early Years

Specialists in bespoke metalwork, Arcangel have now been in business for 25 years designing artistic one-off pieces for both private and corporate clients, including the Royal Family.

Originally based at Transatlantic Studio’s in Kings Cross, London, Caroline Vivian and Davey Boyall formed Arcangel, both bringing different skills to the board having trained at University, they collaborated on projects together and soon built up an enviable reputation. Davey soon showed obvious skill sets for creating fine furniture for both community and private projects, plus movie sets including a table used for 101 Dalmation movie set and the infamous ‘Chopper Chair’ which was covered in many articles in magazines at the time, as well as being hired by Barry Humphrey’s to have on his Dame Edna set, and also on Blue Peter.

Requiring more space, Arcangel decided to move out to rural Hertfordshire. Davey and Paul Meccano met locally, and soon struck up a friendship that would develop into a successful business relationship. Paul having trained in design and construction brought architectural design and business acumen to the company. Recognising Davey’s strengths when he joined, Paul embraced the broadness and flair that Davey had to help to drive the business forward. With Paul and Davey now working together on designs, the business developed, and Arcangel were seen as masters of traditional old school methods, taking old techniques and re-inventing them. Experimenting and breaking the rules to create different finishes or techniques that modern technique and machinery can’t be programmed to do, makes their work stand out from the crowd.

Bespoke Metalwork, Arcangel Ltd, Hertfordshire

The Magnificent Seven: Davey Boyall; Darrell Smith, Tom Willis, Stuart Witham, Nick Lambe, Joe Kennedy, Paul Meccano

As our reputation grew, so did our client base. New members joined the team, bringing with them various skills and expertise. Nick with his fine jewellery background, Darrell Smith with his welding expertise and quirky designs, then Stuart who previously ran his own small design business. Then to maintain their growth, new younger members Joe and Tom joined. Tom having moved to Arcangel after the sad death of his renowned Boss and friend Anthony Caro. Joe as the youngest recruit is training within the company and is a formidable strength.

The new members brought with them vitality, different techniques, artistic outlooks and sometimes a different eye to the job in question. The whole team shares the same passion to make everything first class, taking pride in their work, this is the heart of the company.

The Projects That Made A Difference

The introduction of working with the distinguished Garden Designer, Julie Toll, and the various projects we worked on with Julie (Pear Tree Gates, the ‘Spin’ Feature), stand out as key early achievements and these designs are still gaining attention today through various forms of media.

One of the most complex and challenging projects was on various large artworks and staircases we had to create and install for a private residence in Barbados. The sheer logistics and planning involved to get this amazing project complete and shipped to Barbados for installation, was the biggest test. Project management was critical to ensure that we were on schedule, hitting all targets and that all logistics and regulations were considered, as the first installation would take the whole team of seven 30 days to complete, there was no room for error. It was exciting, a real adventure, and trial by fire as this was one of the hardest environments to work in. The first day was quite a battle, but we soon interacted well with local staff and project teams, and it became apparent we were very used to adapting to surroundings and environments. It was hard work for everyone, Stage 1 took 30 days to complete, then a month back to the UK, followed by another 30 days back in Barbados to complete. We completed the project to a very high standard, the intricate detail, stunning designs and quality of workmanship reflected in all aspects of the task completed.

The Next 25 Years ….

Arcangel are pushing towards further involvement in public art and sculptures alongside the work we are doing. We’ve relished creating artworks that people spot, enjoy and interact with. Knowing our skills can bring real quality to this agenda, and by our awareness of bringing in fresh young talent to keep Arcangel alive, having old and young under one roof, we can really express ourselves with public art.

Equally crucial to our development we recognise the importance of encouraging a creative environment to work in, space around you allows you to be creative in mind. The results then have no limits.

With this confidence and direction, now is the perfect time to launch our new website as Arcangel evolves, embracing the creativity and craftsmanship of the team, recognising the ambition yet diversity in which we work and the aspirations of all that is possible.

Bespoke Metalwork, Spider Sculpture, Arcangel Ltd

The whole team worked on this sculpture as a charitable artwork for a local school. It was a project we could enjoy for ourselves and for the local community.