DESCRIPTION: Designed by EW Pugin, Shrewsbury Cathedral was completed in 1856. The new cast iron balustrade and gates were part of a redevelopment to improve the front access which included alterations to the porch and installation of two new stairs. The design direction, achieved though visiting site and discussions with the client, took into consideration;
HISTORICAL REFERENCE – with no appropriate precedents to take into consideration installing a design imitating the past would not be appropriate. However, the design was to have some linkage to the cathedral which is catholic and devoted to the Virgin Mary.
CONTEMPORARY – as a new installation a bespoke design was needed yet internally the Cathedral had major refurbishment and modernisation in the 1980’s which was now not only tired but very dated. As a result, there was no desire for something too modern or innovative.
PRESENCE – the ironwork was to give the entrance a presence befitting a Cathedrals front entrance.
The challenge was therefore to create a design that had a classical feel to complement the overall setting but at the same time was a unique piece that was a mark of its time. The classic square quatrefoil, a motif that is repeatedly used in the interior, provided inspiration as a linkage from inside to out which in addition had a gothic feel that felt befitting a cathedral and a tribute to Pugin. A simplified bold interpretation gave it a modern twist. A repeat pattern allowed us to use cast iron throughout with the added benefit of being able to cost effectively include moulding details which added to the overall quality of the finished item. The finished colour was tonally light enough to cast shadows, allowing for greater three-dimensional affect, with the choice of blue referencing the Virgin Mary to whom the cathedral is dedicated.