Planted Steel Columns, Seedlip Garden, RHS Chelsea

Cylindrical stainless steel columns, individually cut, rolled, welded and polished, forming sculptural supports for pea plants in a Gold Medal-winning garden at RHS Chelsea 2018.

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About the project

We created these 1.2-metre stainless steel columns for Dr Catherine MacDonald’s Gold-medal-winning Seedlip Garden at RHS Chelsea 2018.

Although they appear simple, these columns were technically very challenging. Each column was rolled from a single sheet of stainless steel, with the holes precisely laser-cut using our state-of-the-art fibre laser cutter. Rolling plain sheet metal is easy, since the pressure is even across the whole surface: however, even the smallest hole creates a pressure difference that can cause the metal to distort.

To prevent this, the central metal disc in each hole was left attached in place with a ‘micro-tag’ a fraction of a millimetre across. The stainless steel sheet was then sandwiched between two further sheets to form a laminate, which could be rolled with perfect precision in our CNC roller mill. Once the discs had been removed, the column was welded and polished to a mirror-smooth, seamless finish.

The columns were completed in February 2018, to allow the pea plants inside to be fully established ahead of the Chelsea build-up in May.

About the project

We created these 1.2-metre stainless steel columns for Dr Catherine MacDonald’s Gold-medal-winning Seedlip Garden at RHS Chelsea 2018.

Although they appear simple, these columns were technically very challenging. Each column was rolled from a single sheet of stainless steel, with the holes precisely laser-cut using our state-of-the-art fibre laser cutter. Rolling plain sheet metal is easy, since the pressure is even across the whole surface: however, even the smallest hole creates a pressure difference that can cause the metal to distort.

To prevent this, the central metal disc in each hole was left attached in place with a ‘micro-tag’ a fraction of a millimetre across. The stainless steel sheet was then sandwiched between two further sheets to form a laminate, which could be rolled with perfect precision in our CNC roller mill. Once the discs had been removed, the column was welded and polished to a mirror-smooth, seamless finish.

The columns were completed in February 2018, to allow the pea plants inside to be fully established ahead of the Chelsea build-up in May.

Location
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Designer
Dr Catherine MacDonald

Client
Landform Consultants

Sponsor
Seedlip

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