Monday, 24 June 2019 15:25

simply elegant

    An award-winning artist with an international reputation, David Harber has been making contemporary and innovative sculptures, sundials and water features for over two decades. Here, INEX unveils his story and his most recent masterpiece.

    Synonymous with elegance and simplicity, David Harber’s designs playfully incorporate light, water and reflections to create dramatic focal points in both exterior and interior settings. Each commission is hand made at the David Harber workshops in Oxfordshire and uses materials such as copper, bronze, stainless steel and stone.

    Since 1992, David has gained an impressive worldwide following, with his designs gracing private gardens and homes, hotels, corporate headquarters and Royal palaces around the world.

    Before discovering his passion for sundials, David began his working life as an apprentice thatcher, a potter and a mountaineer before converting a boat into a floating theatre in which he toured Europe for over eight years, receiving an accolade from Francois Mitterrand, the former French President.

    Inspiring creativity

    David’s first creative endeavour, the armillary sphere, was inspired by a meeting with a friend who was an antiques dealer and had brought back the time piece from France. David was captivated by the ancient mathematical and scientific principals used in the creation of the armillary sphere and spent his last £20 on the materials to create one himself.

    The sale of his first armillary sphere to Jeremy Irons signified the beginning of his career as a sculptor. His repertoire quickly expanded from sundials to sculptural designs. Free from the restrictions of latitude and longitude, he began experimenting with iconic water features and a variety of elegant and innovative sculptures.

    The company has since grown from strength to strength. Based in Oxfordshire, in the shadow of a Bronze-age hill fort, the studio is a hive of creative activity with over 30 employees including designers, engineers, craftsmen and installation experts.

    Drawing integrity from David’s commitment to using only the finest quality materials, his talented team practice time-honoured methods to bring his designs to life. David continues to have a hands-on approach, particularly with bespoke commissions, from attending initial site viewings, designing and manufacturing in the workshop right through to the installation.

    Custom service

    David Harber’s commissions extend far beyond the UK and he has made both customised and bespoke pieces for private, corporate and public body clients the world over with projects as far afield as Qatar, Singapore and U.S.A.

    Highlights of his career include undertaking many royal commissions around the world with his work being unveiled by HM Queen Elizabeth II, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Prince Charles.

    In April 2016, David Harber received a Queen’s Award for International Trade. He is also a six times winner of the RHS Chelsea Flower show Sundries Trophy, and has produced private commissions for a host of illustrious clients including Dame Judi Dench and George Michael.

    Playful expression

    David’s latest sculpture Steel Breeze is a vast sculpture that cleverly plays with the relationship between positive and negative space.

    Made from mirror polished stainless steel, two circular discs are positioned parallel to each other and laser cut in an elaborate pattern to reveal the space between them. The piece is encircled by an elegant band of antique tan patinated bronze. It comes with the interior mirror polished, but there is scope to customise it with internal lighting, by painting the inside or leaving it unpolished. Depending on customisation, the prices start at £8972 + VAT (inc. installation and delivery within UK mainland) for a 1.2m Steel Breeze.

    “Steel Breeze plays with the light, offering kaleidoscopic reflections of the environment around it. The name came from Pink Floyd lyrics and was inspired by the way the wind blows through the sculpture,” says David Harber. He added: “There’s a playfulness in the laser-cut patterns and in the repeating kaleidoscopic reflections. The piece has a lyrical and whimsical quality. What you see isn’t obvious – in fact, there’s an element of being lost in space and time when you view it.

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