Scrap Metal Architectural Panels

Scrap metal art Panel

Here's another project done this week with left-over cut outs from the Fire Bowls. As cool as these shapes are, they can be kind of hard to work with… I find that when they're layered over one another in a pile, they look awesome, but usually when I try to work with them individually, they lose something in the process. So I took an old steel frame from a trampoline, welded in a bunch of flat pieces of steel to provide a backdrop and then filled it up with several layers of welded in firebowl scraps. And voila! It looks as good as it does when they're randomly scattered!

I love the texture and the play of shadow in between the bits of steel. The colors are nice too, though over time those will change to a more consistent tone if the piece is left outdoors.

At which point you're maybe thinking, "Great John, but what's it good for?"

Glad you asked.

I like the idea of this as a wall hanging piece, but it weighs about 150 pounds or more so that rules out a lot of walls… If you've got a nice modern loft space with concrete walls, I reckon you could get away with it. Which makes me think that a few of these would look totally amazing if they were bolted to or set into a concrete wall as an architectural feature. Yeah, I think I may do just that when I get around to landscaping here at the studio… Some nice cast concrete walls with inset steel panels. Actually, they'd look even better if the were set into a wall as part of a fountain or water feature. Yeah, imagine if water were seeping through the spaces between the metal and falling into a trough.

embedded steel wall sculpture

recycled steel sculpture for concrete walls

I think they'd also work well as components in a fence, especially if you were thinking about a fence that provides more privacy by blocking the view from outside. If I were gonna make a fence in this style, I'd probably do a bunch of panels in different sizes and connect them together like the panels in the first big scrap metal fence project I did.

My ultimate goal is to do a pair of 4 x 8 foot doors in this style when I build the new studio building. I'll probably have to get the hinges and frames from a bank vault company, but still…

As usual, if any of these projects sound like what you're looking for, or you'd like to talk about commissioning a project along these lines, drop me an email or call 231.584.2710.

Do you have questions or comments?

« Recycled Steel Tree for Earth Day | Main | Johnny Evers Mosaic, Centerpiece of the Chicago Cubs Triptych »

Email Newsletter

Sign up for my FREE email newsletter to get exclusive offers and legacy pricing.

  • 30 and 41 inch firebowls are now sold exclusively through my newsletter due to scarcity of materials.
  • Get advance notice of price increases (and the opportunity to buy at the lower price for a limited time.)
  • Get early notification of new art and designs.

About John

John T. Unger If my job as an artist is to fill the world with "more things," I feel it is equally important that I reclaim materials from the waste stream to make space for my work. — John T. Unger

I believe creative re-use has the potential to spark new ways of looking at the world… if one thing can be turned into another, what else can we change? Successful recycled art encourages creativity in others— it's alchemical, magical, subversive, and transformative by nature. Read On


Art Heroes
John T. Unger