Last Summer I was contacted by Joe Cummings the Enterprise Manager at South Liverpool Homes (a client of Nonconform). He chatted to me about a fantastic and important initiative called Grow Speke led by Groundwork CLM. The project is transforming a former factory space into a thriving community garden in the heart of Speke, Liverpool.
I was asked to design alley gates that would book-end the garden, also making it a safer place for the local residents. I knew immediately that I wanted to use Cor-ten weathering steel because it forms a rust coating when exposed to the elements which protects the steel meaning maintenance is minimal, and it also looks unusual and beautiful.
The gate design is heavily inspired by Art Nouveau, reflecting the organic nature of the community garden. The designs took a few attempts to get right in order to suit the cutting/profiling process. I wanted to make sure the end result mirrored the intricate detail of the preliminary sketches, whilst still being strong enough to perform their No 1 function of being gates.
As I hadn’t designed gates before, I worked closely with the gate fabricator Tommy Knox of Knox engineering in Ormskirk. Tommy organised the profiling, designed the roller bars, hinge and closing systems along with the frames that the gates sit on.
I also wanted to add a touch of colour to the gates, and was inspired by the work of the brilliant Definitive 1. They made a set of stunning bespoke glass discs in four colours, which represent the colours from the Grow Speke logo. The discs have been fused together in metal hoops, they are welded together in clusters to some of the cut out swirls in the metal work.
Final pics coming soon.