Plant Motifs and Metalwork for Your Custom Railing Projects
If you peruse our custom railing gallery, you’ll find that metal railings with botanical motifs are popular projects at CustomMade. Plant life exquisitely rendered in metal can bring the outdoors inside and add a dynamic sense of growth to any stairway or deck. However, at first glance, plants and metal seem like an unlikely pairing. They seem so different: soft and hard, organic and inorganic, nature and culture.
This railing was a pivotal project for me in many ways. With it I began to break out of a strictly linear forging vocabulary, I also started better understanding what I think of as the body language of forged iron. By that I mean how a particular form is shaped or a different joint used affects the visual weight or direction of the overall piece. I also started looking more closely at the work of Alessandro Mazzucotelli, a little known Italian blacksmith and designer in the Art Nouveau style who remains to this day one of my favorite resources. When the project was all installed the client paid me what I consider a very high compliment, namely that she almost didn’t know it was there because it fit the space so well.
Anywhere a plant grows, it fits. Plants are by no means passive. They are only soft to the touch. The force that even a tiny growing seed can exert is enormous. A plant makes its place. In a mirror manner, metal made soft by forge and hammer can take its place anywhere once hard. Metal can grow, too. This symmetry between metal and plant is celebrated in the Art Nouveau movement’s turn to organic shapes, especially botanical forms and lines, and embrace of metal as a medium.
There is an elemental affinity beyond nature between the motif and medium of plant and metal. Here are just a few examples of custom wrought iron and steel railings that explore this connection.
John Boyd Smith Metal Studios created this incredibly naturalistic wrought iron banana leaf railing for the central stairway of the South Beach Miami Loews Hotel. This piece was featured in Interior Design magazine and is part of an installation that also includes tables, an escalator screen, and balcony railings for a grand ballroom. The project certainly fits this hospitality space perfectly. If you’d like a similar design for your home or business, contact the artisan today.
These cattails may appear to have sprouted from the pavers, but this reed plant motif fencing and railing is all hand-forged metalwork by Cabinets & Design Iron LLC. You can choose your motif and metal, “from roses to marigolds, ivy, grapes with leaves & vines” made from forged iron, copper, or bronze, and Dana and Kathy Ayler will hand shape and hand paint custom railing that will add “a dimension beyond words” to your home.
The concept for the steel and bronze gates and stair rails for the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden at Michigan State University was inspired by “the young spring plants pushing through the forest floor and upward” writes Jesse Stefani of Stefani & Co. Take a look at the many photos of these structures, from their roots to their stems and flowering tips, on the project gallery page. If you also find plant growth inspiring, discuss your ideas with the artisan for a custom railing project for your garden or other outdoor space.