Projects - Architectural

Concealed structural steelwork

M&G Garden by Andy Sturgeon - RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019

Andy Sturgeon is one of Britain’s leading garden designers. Having worked with him on many projects over the years, we were delighted when he approached us to develop the support steelwork for his show garden at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Unusually, our involvement on this project was more structural than aesthetic, since the support metalwork would be entirely hidden once installed.

Our brief was to design support frames to hold large oak beams, built by Johnny Woodford and Matt Bodimeade, that would be carved and charred in situ to form sculptural walls. On all projects - large or small, structural or aesthetic - we follow the same design procedure, modelling all parts in 3D for client approval. This allows us to ensure any potential manufacturing issues are identified prior to fabrication, saving both time and money.

Working with the appointed structural engineer, we came up with a system constructed in 80mm x 80mm x 8mm thick box section. Once the design was approved, the first process was laser cutting all the top and base plates in 10mm mild steel. Each frame was different, so had to be sawn, drilled and welded individually with very few common parts. Following fabrication, all the frames were hot-dipped galvanised prior to delivery and the installation of the oak beams.

Lifting the finished oak structures, some weighing as much as three tonnes, had to be done in a way that would not damage the charred wood exterior, and would not be clearly visible once installed. We developed a system using lifting eyes mounted into a heavy top plate that could be concealed or plugged after the lift was complete.

This was a classic example of how our specialist engineering, problem solving and fabrication skills can help bring a designer’s ideas to life. Our work is fundamental to the project’s structural integrity and overall feasibility.

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  • Concealed structural steelwork - project video

  • Structural steelwork supporting carved sculptural walls

  • Welding

  • Welded component

  • Structural steelwork in 8mm box section awaiting galvanised treatment

  • Structural steelwork in 8mm box section awaiting galvanised treatment

  • Structural steelwork in 8mm box section awaiting galvanised treatment

  • Structural steelwork in 8mm box section awaiting galvanised treatment

  • Structural steelwork in 8mm box section awaiting galvanised treatment

  • Structural steelwork in 8mm box section post hot-dipped galvanised steel treatment

  • Structural steelwork in 8mm box section post hot-dipped galvanised steel treatment

  • Finished structural steelwork supporting carved sculptural walls

  • Finished structural steelwork supporting carved sculptural walls