Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Playing with Fire: contemporary sculptor David Harber unveils new design

Credit: © David Harber Ltd

- The Oxfordshire-based artist best known for his unique sundials and water features turns to a new element for inspiration -

Award-winning artist David Harber (http://www.davidharber.com/) will be introducing fire to the natural elements which inspire his work with a new design developed as part of a private commission this spring.

The Fire Table takes the form of a platform of oxidized copper at the centre of which is set a bowl of polished stainless steel, from which emits a flame. It is the first time that Harber, whose work takes inspiration from the natural world - from water to sunshine - has used fire in his designs.

‘I’ve always been interested in water, gravity and optical illusion, so the development of the Fire Table was a natural step,’ explains Harber. ‘Here we’re playing with the additional elements of fire and light. Fire is a mesmerising primeval energy along with water – it’s a fundamental element in human evolution.’

The work showcases many of Harber’s signature stylistic features, including the exploration of different materials and finishes - in this case soft, naturally oxidised copper, which is contrasted with polished stainless steel - the optical illusion projected by the reflections of the mirrored surface of the bowl and the influence of the natural elements in the design.

David Harber’s name is most closely associated with his unique sundial sculptures and his works are often characterised by the importance of time and place. Pieces can be inscribed with information important to the owner, such as dates, mottos or the distance and bearing towards meaningful locations. Designed as part of a larger, contemporary scheme for the grounds of a house in Warwickshire, the basin of the Fire Table features the names of places which are important to the family that commissioned it - from holiday houses to the location of events such as weddings - together with the points of the compass: ‘The table is a focal point both physically and metaphorically’ says Harber. ‘At a glance, it reveals the story of the family who it belongs to.’

David Harber will be on hand to answer questions about his new designs and to showcase his latest work at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show (24 – 28 May).

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