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John Packer for Ironart

Ironart is proud to be collaborating with the Bristol based artist/designer & maker John Packer. His unique, contemporary style adds a whole new dimension to the design service we can offer here at Ironart. His work is visually intriguing, often with a complex mathematical element. John’s work is mainly in the field of Public Art, ranging from functional items such as railings, street furniture and bridges, to kinetic, musical and static sculptures.

“My inspiration is taken from natural forms and phenomena, such as the fractal geometry of shells and plants, and the dynamic patterns of water ripples. A lifelong fascination with structures and engineering has also led me into designing bridges as well as experimental structural sculptures.”

From Jan 2014 we’ll be offering a range of designs from John Packer’s portfolio, which can be tailored to your particular site, with the addition of grills, balconies, and pedestrian / vehicular gates all seamlessly integrated into the overall design. Most commercially available railing designs are ‘flat’ – i.e. they are designed to be seen head-on. John Packer’s designs place particular emphasis on creating dynamic visual effects when viewed from changing angles, this works particularly well in situations next to a path or road, where the view constantly alters as one moves past the railings.


Contour Map. A design based on slices of a rippled surface. Made from interlocking laser cut steel the design works from the front or back and casts interesting shadows. The design is a continuous non-repeating pattern up to 17 metres in length. Photos show installation at Crosskeys, Wales

Steel Curtain. This design, though made from heavy laser-cut steel and 8mm bent rods, has the appearance of fabric blown by the wind, and creates striking effects in various lighting conditions. Photos show installation as car park grills – railings and gates can also be made to this design.

Rope Wave. The organic ‘wasted’ forms of the laser-cut uprights are inspired by the corrosion occuring on steel and iron particularly in marine environments, which together with the steel ropes give a nautical theme to this design. Photos show installation as car park grills, Tower Wharf, Bristol.

Ribbon Rail. A mid-priced design giving strong visual interest from moving past the railings, as the abstract ribbon shapes emerge and recede. Made from interlocking plasma-cut 6mm steel. Photographs and drawings can also be incorporated into the design, in which case the image  appears and recedes when viewed from different angles. Photos show large installation on a housing development in Croydon.

Moiree Rail. A railing design which gains its strength through triangulation rater than from heavy posts, giving a light uncluttered appearance and perfect . The Moiree interference effect increases with the viewing angle. Also this design is easy to see through at acute angles, which is beneficial for pedestrian safety.

Halftone Screen. In this design, particularly suited to head-on viewing, photograps, drawings or text are converted into black and white ‘halftone’ images, which are then laser-cut into the steel. The photograph shows a large curved sliding vehicle gate and keypad pedestrian entrance made from marine grade stainless steel for student accomodation in Bristol.

Time Line.  A design based on the moving reflection of a line on water ripples. The design is generated by taking video footage of the distortions of a vertical line reflected by a pool of water. This is a very dynamic design which gives the visual illusion of a 3D surface. Photos show installation as an internal balustrade at Manchester Buddhist Centre; as car park grilles at Capricorn Quay, Bristol (with the bars oriented perpendicular to the surface – very effective when viewed acutely); and as a flat sculptural piece, also at Capricorn Quay.

Parralax. Made from individually bent square bars, abstract dark and light forms emerge depending on the viewing angle. This installation is at Bristol Buddhist Centre.