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7 posts from fences, gates + trellises

Custom Security Grates with Kinetic Sculpture Design

These two grates are a commission for an apartment building in Texas. Both are made from recycled/reused components (other than the steel for the frame). Both grates have kinetic elements that spin, turn or bobble.

I love adding moving parts to fences, gates and grates to give them a more dynamic and interactive presence.

Gates, fences + Trellises

Bottle Fence
  Blue Bottle Fence. 2006.
Steel, glass. Dimensions variable

More info on bottle fences here.

The gates below are largely created from various recycled elements… If you'd like to talk about a custom fence or gate project, drop me a line.

Vine Motif Garden Gate Deco Modern Garden Trellis Macintosh Garden Screen-1
Fruited Vine Screen, 2003:
steel, copper,
45" x 24" x 1.5"
Private Collection
Art Nouveau Gate, 2003:
steel, copper,
68.5" x 38.5" x 3"
Private Collection
MacIntosh  Screen, 2003:
steel,
48" x 36" x 2"
Private Collection
Devilgate-1 Legba Gate-1 Devil Gate-1
Devil in the Jungle Gate, 1998
steel 48" H x 42" W x 2" D
Commission
2025 S. Halsted, Chicago
Devil in the Jungle Gate, 1998
steel 48" H x 42" W x 2" D
Commission
2025 S. Halsted, Chicago
Legba Gate, 1998
steel 48" H x 42" W x 2" D
Commission
2025 S. Halsted, Chicago
click thumbnail to view larger image. enlarge

Frank Lloyd Wright Styled Fence in Steel, Slate, Copper + Glass

frank lloyd wright style fence
Frank Lloyd Wright Inspired Fence, 2004
steel, slate, durock, vitreous glass, copper.
48" H x 48" W x 1.5"
D (per section)
Commission

The floral pattern in these fences was designed to complement clerestory windows overlooking the courtyard where they are installed. Incorporating natural slate, iridescent glass mosaic tile and copper, this project is the culmination of techniques I have been developing over the past few years. Although the original plans called for the sections to be painted black, the clients chose a rust finish in order to integrate more naturally with the landscape.

frank lloyd wright fence Milock 03 Milock 04
Milock 05 Milock 06 Milock 07
click thumbnail to view larger image. enlarge

City Gates, 4022 N. Sheridan Road Chicago

City Gates 014-1
City Gates, 2002
Steel.
96" H x 96" W x 2"
D
Commission

City Gates, commissioned by Bob Racky for his offices at 4022 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago, features two pairs of gates based on maps of the Chicago area. The south gates show Riverside, IL and feature urban planning by Frederic Law Olmstead in the lower left corner. It's not on every project that an ironworker gets to “quote” the designer of Central Park! The north gates are based on Des Plaines, IL and contain the only obvious clue to the design source...a railroad running through the upper right corner.

City Gates 001-1 City Gates 002-1 City Gates 003-1 City Gates 004-1
City Gates 005-1 City Gates 006-1 City Gates 007-1 City Gates 008-1
City Gates 009-1 City Gates 010-1 City Gates 011-1 City Gates 012-1
click thumbnail to view larger image. enlarge

A Love Story: Narrative Fence in Steel, Glass, Copper and Brass

family life story fence
Life Story Fence, 2002
Steel, Durock, porcelain, paint.
48" H x 120" W x 2"
D
Commission.

Having seen pictures of my Acrobat Fence, my friends Howie and JoAnn approached me to design four sections of fence to enclose a round garden at their Evanston, Illinois residence. Together, they scripted a narrative telling the story of their lives together in four acts: meeting and falling in love; traveling Asia; their first child, Gabriel; and their second child, Julian.

This project is a great example of artist/client collaboration. Through conversations and stories JoAnn told me, I was able to get a good feel for the personality and expression of each member of the family. Gabriel loves snakes, so in his panel, the family goes for a ride on a snake. Julian is really into math, so I portrayed him juggling numbers while the rest of the family plays or looks on.

Each character is portrayed using a different color glass: Howie is blue, JoAnn is green, Gabriel is red and Julian, yellow. The inside of the fence was done in copper instead of mosaic to keep the widths of the heads proportionate. This constraint actually turned out to be a good thing, because Howie prefers the copper and JoAnn loves the glass mosaic.

Ho 01A Ho 02A Ho 03A Ho 04A
Ho 01B Ho 02B Ho 03B Ho 04B
click thumbnail to view larger image. enlarge

Scrap Iron Fence 2208 S. Halsted Chicago, IL

Scrap Iron Abstract Fence
Scrap Fence,  2208 S. Halsted, 2002
steel, cast iron.

83" H x 284" W x 6" D
Collaboration with Kenneth Morrison
Commission.

A collaboration with kenneth Morrison. He originated the concept and sketched a rough layout for overall project. I designed and fabricated indivdual panels. The choice of which panels went together was his. It was a little like an enormous steel version of the exquisite corpse game played by the Surrealists...in which players take turns adding to a drawing without seeing the parts drawn by the last player.

Scrap iron fence Scrap 003 Scrap 004 Scrap 005
Scrap 006 Scrap 007 Scrap 008 Scrap 009 Scrap 010
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Steel + Mosaic Fence with Tumbling Acrobats

Acrobat Fence
Acrobat Fence, 2002
steel, Durock, porcelain, paint.
48" H x 120" W x 2"
D
Commission

These graceful figures suggest both the motion of their dance and the music that moves them. The obvious joy of the figures is engaging— but their simplicity is what really captivates us. We can easily see ourselves, someone we know, or the person we might like to be in this dance.

The simplicity of these figures allows them to fit nearly any story or culture. Equally flexible, the materials are suitable for creating functional work such as fences, railings and furniture or more decorative projects such as relief murals.

Check out the wonderful garden fence I made for Howard Hast & JoAnne Olsen— telling the story of their life together through a series of figures. If you're interested in commissioning a unique piece to express your own story or ideas, please contact me.

Acrobat Fence 02 Acrobat Fence 03 Acrobat Fence 04
Acrobat Fence 05 Acrobat Fence 06 Acrobat Fence 07
click thumbnail to view larger image. enlarge
John T. Unger