Following on from our insight into some of London’s most impressive steel architecture in our previous blog post, we have decided to run you through the best steel sculptures of our capital. We’re going to showcase a variety of different techniques and styles – from the simple to the scientific – and let you know where they are, so you can experience them for yourself.
Here at Mundy Structural Steel, as our name suggests, we work as steel fabricators throughout London and so we have a special place in our heart for the creative use of our favourite material. Therefore, we have put together some of our favourite steel sculptures in London below.
A Bullet from a Shooting Star – Alex Chinneck (2014)
The London Design Festival collaborated with the Greenwich Peninsula to commission what is, at its essence, an uprooted electricity pylon from Alex Chinneck. Standing at 35m high, this steel sculpture is illuminated at night to exude a trellis of light into the area and references the industrial history of the site (in the Greenwich Peninsula).
The sculpture is constructed of over 1100 metres of steel – weighing over 15 tons – and can be seen from various locations across London, including Canary Wharf. A truly marvelling spectacle.
Quantum Cloud – Antony Gormley (1999)
Standing 30m tall next to the Millenium Dome, the Quantum Cloud by Antony Gormley (the artist also behind such names as ‘Angel of the North’ and ‘Another Place’) is a striking and scientific piece of public art that was commissioned for the location in 1999. Scientific due to the artist drawing inspiration from Basil Hiley, a quantum physicist, with the idea stemming from “Hiley’s thoughts on pre-space as a mathematical structure underlying space-time and matter.” Striking because, well, look at it…
The 1.5m sections of steel protruding from the (somewhat) camouflaged figure were arranged using a computer model – a random walk algorithm – with the figure itself being based on Gormley’s body: a common theme in the artist’s work.
A Slice of Reality – Richard Wilson (2000)
Another work commissioned for the Millenium Dome, A Slice of Reality is a striking and simple steel sculpture of a 9m vertical section of the (former) ‘sand dredger’ Arco Trent. This piece exposes the living quarters of the vessel – including a pool table – and has been left to the mercy of the Thames. This has been seen as “a melancholy nod to the former industrial days of the River Thames.”
Fulcrum – Richard Serra (1987)
Conceived and created by American artist Richard Serra – Fulcrum has been hailed as one of London’s design icons: standing at 17m tall of weathered Cor-Ten steel (which is designed to rust, but not decay). The steel sculpture hails close to the west entrance to Liverpool Street Station and is spot-welded.
The word ‘fulcrum’ is thematically linked with balance, so it is no coincidence that the statue seems as if it is doing simply that – balancing on itself – and may fall at any minute.
The Best Sculptures are Steel Sculptures
With there being over 400 sculptures in London, it can be hard to find the time to appreciate the small number of those that are constructed using steel. Hopefully, however, we have managed to outline some of the reasons for visiting these special sites and shed some background as to their significance – both culturally and geographically.
There are plenty more steel sculptures to enjoy in London, though, with there not having been even a mention of ArcelorMittal Orbit or Three Perpetual Chords in this blog post. You can at least find out about the former in our previous blog post on the steel architecture of London.
Mundy Structural Steel
Here at Mundy Structural Steel, we work with steel and the erection and fabrication of the material. We work with both structural and stainless steel – on a range of commercial and domestic projects – throughout London.
If you’d like to hear more about what we can do for you, please contact us by calling 020 8818 6930- or filling out our simple contact form.
Structural steel is widely used in the construction of buildings and large structures, but the omnipresent material is often hidden away behind facades of concrete, glass, and brickwork. That means it’s important to celebrate the instances of steel being at the forefront of the appearance of architecture when we get the chance.
Mundy Structural Steel are expert steel fabricators that cover the London area, so we have put together a few of our favourite examples of steel architecture in London below.
An observation tower that is also the largest piece of public art in Britain, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is the statement piece of architecture in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. The impressive example of steel architecture was designed by artist Anish Kapoor – and carried out with Cecil Balmond – the structure is made from recycled steel: enough to make 265 double-decker buses.
At 114m high, the tower offers 20-mile, panoramic views of London and attracted over 130,000 visitors during the Olympics. Now, the tower also has the world’s longest slide, which was added in 2014.
Also known as the ‘inside-out building’, the Lloyd’s building was designed by Richard Rogers with the “Bowellism” architecture style in mind. Bowellism describes buildings that place the services – such as ducts, lifts, and stairs – on the exterior in order to reduce clutter inside.
Construction started in 1978 and the building was completed in 1986: famous for the stainless steel ‘services’ that make up the facade, with spiralling staircases and ducts making lining the exterior. These extremities are also, famously, made from stainless steel, which helps to create the striking – almost ‘steampunk’ – aesthetic it gives off.
The restoration work undertaken in King’s Cross railway station aimed to accommodate the increased passenger flow through the departure discourse and the different sections of transport catered to in the station. The centrepiece of it all, though, is the steel roof structure that seems to grow out of the ground and enthral the ceiling, much as a tree canopy with plenty of light but a roof that just won’t budge.
The roof structure is claimed – by the architect, John McAslan – to be the largest, single-span structure in a train station in the world, but is also far more than just visually stunning. The steel roof installation means the weight of the building is supported without the need for columns in the concourse, which makes for a more open space with less clutter.
A Versatile and Compelling Material
There are plenty of examples of impressive steel architecture in London that utilise the versatile metal to improve their aesthetic appeal. We even failed to mention the countless others that embody this same philosophy, with steel even being used as an accent in (seemingly) contradicting settings like the recently installed, pre-rusted steel fly box of the Shaftesbury Theatre in the West End.
In essence, we are very interested in seeing architecture that takes advantage of steel to cast a compelling, visual challenge to the skyline.
Mundy Structural Steel
Here at Mundy Structural Steel, we are expert steel fabricators that provide structural and stainless steel for customers throughout London. We have worked with a range of different clients on projects of varying magnitude, with one of the most recent being the frame for the world’s largest digital wrap on the London Stadium.
If you’d like to hear more about what we can do for you, please get in touch. You can call us on 020 8818 6930 or fill out our simple contact form and a member of our team will get to your enquiry.
A sports stadium, to many, is much more than simply a feat of architecture. This can be a place of worship, admiration, and despair for sports fans, but there is often mainly appreciation from fans of architecture and those within the industry. The expression of sheer engineering brilliance on such a great scale is something to behold. That’s why, here at Mundy Structural Steel, we have detailed a few of the most impressive sports stadiums from around the world in this blog post.
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