If only...

...sterile glass buildings could look like they belong, says Bex Simon

In our world, where sterile glass buildings emerge from the ground like cold monuments, I always feel like I want to cover them with forged-metal foliage to make them feel like they belong here. The drama created by the contrast of the forged steel juxtaposed against the cold glass would force people to look up to the sky, away from their phones and smile.

Steel is strong and hard but apply heat and it can be manipulated into very organic forms. The structure of these buildings is made from the very same steel but unforged: it is lifeless and cold. I would have to use a giant power hammer to forge the stems, maybe 10 times bigger than the old Le Creusot steam hammer delivering blows of 1,000 tonnes. Each leaf would be heated by giant fires and hammered to shape to leave texture and life. The leaves could be made from perforated plate to let light through, like brise soleil, and yet still look solid.

Many hands have made these skyscrapers, but no imprint is left of who built them. These climbing metal leaves would have all the marks of human interaction and softness. The ancient craft of blacksmithing is far from dead and we can create stunning contemporary art, pushing out the boundaries in design.

Bex Simon


Bex Simon creates extraordinary, eye-catching pieces of public art through her blacksmith / metalwork skills. Bex is inspired by textures, colours and materials, having started out in ceramics and textiles, later switching to the medium of metal, and incorporating these inspirations into her bespoke metalwork.

Working with a highly skilled team of artist blacksmiths, her metalwork art projects have taken on many forms and structures, including sculptural pieces for landmark buildings, to architectural and decorative metal gates. Her work extends from public arts projects to private commissions.

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