Bespoke Stainless Steel Flowers handcrafted by West Country Blacksmiths used to decorate the Townhouse balustrades of the prestigious Chelsea Barracks Development in London.
West Country Blacksmiths are proud to have work in collaboration with London based designer Tord Boontje to produce over 750 bespoke stainless steel flowers & 4,500 leaves used to decorate the Townhouse balustrades of the prestigious Chelsea Barracks Development in London.
The team of expert craftsmen worked with the designer Tord Boontje through the design stage to offer their experience and expertise in metalwork to help develop Tord’s designs and produce samples of the flowers.
The blacksmiths were award the commission to produce the flowers and leafs and worked for several month producing the many thousands of individual handcrafted components required.
Each balcony had a different combination of twelve different flowers – all commonly found in Britain. The flowers included Wild Roses, Garden Roses, Winter Roses, Almond Blossoms, Carnations, Peonies, Cosmoses, Violets, Anemones,
Wets Country Blacksmiths has received high praise for this project and were pleased to welcome a team from Chelsea Barracks to film our blacksmiths at work. Chelsea Barracks have recently release short video showing the development of the flowers from concept to completion which includes some amazing footage of our blacksmiths at work on out traditional coal forge.
We are externally proud to share the below wording taken from the Chelsea Barracks website –
“Nowadays, it’s not so common to find blacksmiths – and especially really good ones,” Designer Tord Boontje says regretfully. “Because the better the blacksmith is, the higher the quality of the craftsmanship and the more beautifully my designs will be translated. So I spent a lot of time researching blacksmiths in Britain, and visited many different workshops.”
Eventually, he struck on West Country Blacksmiths, an exciting and accomplished team of metalworkers operating out of a seventeenth century forge in Somerset. “They are very highly skilled,” Tord reflects effusively. “A very energetic young team who are a pleasure to work with. And they have a very nice way of interpreting my designs and making them into metal.” Tord sees it as especially important that designer and blacksmith are able to forge such a strong relationship. “During this translation of materials the design changes as well,” he explains. “Sometimes the things can be made in a more beautiful way than I imagined, sometimes things are not achievable. There’s a kind of play that happens between the designer and the blacksmith at that moment.”
Take, for example, the process behind selecting materials for Chelsea Barracks’ balconies. After much contemplation, Tord opted to craft the floral elements from stainless steel. “It’s a very hard metal so we’re free to cut any shape we want,” he reflects. “But there are some limitations there. There’s a fluidity you can achieve but if you try and fold things too tight the metal can break. That’s where the blacksmith comes in. It’s my skill as a designer to understand our limitations, but the blacksmiths are the precise craftsmen. With their skills they can really understand how to form these leaves and petals in the best way and how to assemble these flowers. There’s a kind of efficiency in the making on one hand, but on the other it all looks very natural and organic.”