London’s Steel Sculptures
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.