The ‘Spin’ Fountain
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.
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 www.ngs.org.uk for more information.
For further details on water features that we can design for you, contact us to discuss further.