This project has been a lot of fun to experiment with, design, refine, build prototypes, & dream of where it could lead to, at full-scale & in-situ. I set out to create a robust series of rectangular knock-outs that fit with the vocabulary & functionality of cast-iron entryway security gates / 1st floor window shields / decorative balcony railings. Ever since I began to travel a lot internationally there are many things at street-level that I can't not stop & admire, photograph, & dream to one day be involved with the design of. These touches of beautiful security are some of the most unique ingredients of street-level design in many cities around the world. And it is really awesome that even today, as the visual landscape of many city grids the world over get more & more similar, these simple & functional elements continue to express different flavors in different places.
I had been gaining momentum with ideas for this exploration for years, but then on a trip to Mexico City this past Winter I was overwhelmed with inspiration and finally committed to get going with it. For sure there is a wonderful & unique variety of this stuff there & throughout Central & South America. Europe really has it going on too, especially Paris (of course) & Barcelona, Lisbon, London, Milan, Berlin. Gotta shout out SF & NYC too 100%. Really everywhere I've been there is plenty to ponder & appreciate when it comes to clever & beautiful solutions to this basic form or security. It could always just be a problem solved with jail-esk vertical bars & unfortunately there is a lot of that going on, but the art/design continues to flourish & I really appreciate that.
There are many practical considerations that contributed to the way I constructed each of these designs. Strength & balance are key. For a door that will be on hinges there must be equal weight distribution, & for most of these I envision a possibility of the center-line being where the lock & passage point is, so symmetry is logical (just as we often see in these things). Structurally it is important to have enough connections in the design so that it can't be breached with a couple severed junctions & safety-wise its best to avoid too sharp points that could accidentally hurt a pedestrian or snag a bag on a crowded street. I tried my best to stay mindful of all of this when composing each of them, while simultaneously striving for plenty of aesthetic differences in my own visual vocabulary from one to the next.
When it came time to build out this chapter of the series as wall art I was on the fence (lol) as to how best to display them. At first it seemed most impressive to have the gates suspended a fair distance in front of the background, as would be the case in real-life scenarios. But I learned quick that they actually pop the most mounted flush, one-color & showcasing the compositions thru light & shadow. I experimented with mounting on mirrors (this was cool & has a bit of a concept to fall into, but I decided against if for now). I also did a few tests with mounting the laser-cut onto glass & hand-painting multiple colors on the backside to arrive at a stained-glass-esk result (also cool, but gonna hold off and do this in a different way in future. Ideally real stained glass :) After all the experiments I arrived at this format : Framed 17" x 21" x 2", painted 1-color w/ MTN94 matte spray & ready for great #Shadovvs action from any light source.
This is just the beginning of a new chapter in my studio. I’m def trying to link with 'Gatekeepers' (pun intended) working in Architecture / Interior & Exterior Design / Metalsmiths / City Planners / Etc. that see potential in collaboration & implementation of my work at ground-level around the world. Any intros & advice much appreciated!