Sculpture: Natural Solutions in Steel

Be it the popular “Sculpture by the Sea” exhibitions that take sculpture out of the museum to the people or the Grand Designs phenomenon that champions the “bespoke”, Australians are developing a taste for sculpture and design, not only in public and corporate spaces, but in the garden, the courtyard, the home or office vista and the sea-side or bush retreat.

This opens new possibilities for collaboration between product designers and sculptors and interior designers and landscape architects to enhance the outdoor site and its contextual integration.

Engagement with professional sculptors and bespoke designers at the outset of a project can stimulate ideas and tap into the natural, formal and textural prompts and solutions that are often imbedded in the landscape. Sculptors and product designers can bring invaluable skills, R&D and prototyping experience, specialist supply chains and a synthesis of technology, engineering and digital systems into the conceptual and visualisation phase of a project.

Sydney based sculptor and design duo, Janos Korban and Stefanie Flaubert (Korban Flaubert) are just that kind of practice. Producing museum quality sculpture and design that matches the highest standards of architecture, landscape and exterior design, their work has a powerful and intrinsic bond with nature and simultaneously complements architectural and modernist design trends.

Underpinning the quality of their portfolio is a period of metalwork training for Janos in Germany during the 1990s and Stefanie’s grounding in experimental architecture, creating a fusion of technical precision, conceptual and creative virtuosity. They work out of a studio workshop and exhibition space in Sydney’s Alexandria where model making, manipulation of metals and unique experimentation are a standard part of their practice.

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Janos Korban and Stefanie Flaubert at their Alexandria studio, Sydney

Their metal sculptures are generous in form and scale and play with the dynamics of energy and fluidity. Like fractals in nature, there is a formal rhythmic and systematic discipline in their design. Conversely, they capture the unpredictable quality at the core of nature – growth and decay, instability and equilibrium, the changing dynamics of light, colour and movement.

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In a Silent Way
Stainless Steel
1920 X 1600 X 1360mm

Their sculpture entitled In a Silent Way is a sample of the precocious talent of the Korban Flaubert team. It captures the brilliance of light, elasticity and fluidity of form expressed in a monumental and triumphant swirl of polished stainless steel. It echoes and plays with elements of abstraction – stillness and motion, volume and void, the purity of line, themes explored by Modernists since the 1960’s. The Korban Flaubert interpretation has contemporary dramatic impact that draws the viewer into the environment resonating powerfully with the landscape.

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2013 corten steel
900 x 760 x 490mm

Trove, derived from the word for a metal treasure found in the woods, is made in rusted steel and fabricated with seamless folds of curved metal discs. Evoking a fallen seed pod it is coloured by the natural rust of corten steel and sits lightly on the earth, dramatic in scale but playful. The metal pod creates a strong focal point in a garden, courtyard or forest setting drawing the eye into the colours, textures and patterns of tree trunks, bark and foliage and highlighting the soaring height and majesty of mature trees.

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Stalker in the Grass
Corten Steel
Small 650 X 540 X 390mm to 4620 x 570mm

Stalker in the Grass is described by its makers as ‘an artefact exploring a compressed and unpredictable path of travel tracked into a dense and energetic solid’. Fabricated in rusted corten steel with a patina-like finish, it comes in a variety of sizes. Like a meteorite thrust from outer space, this piece projects into the earth and points to the sky while drawing the eye around its jagged linear arrangement of voids and solid forms. Positioned in a windswept earthy bush setting or more immediately on a wooden deck, this sculpture will draw the eye directly into a fixed spot giving the landscape or interior designer a powerful tool to control the impact of a vista. A sculpture of this dynamic force can remove the need for more elaborate screening, building or planting solutions. It can change perspectives and alter the mind’s eye.

cellscreen kuwait 1_1500x1000Cellscreen
Anodized Alumimium
1800 X 1800 X 100mm or customised

Cellscreen is made from clear anodised aluminium, customized to size and is 100 mm in-depth. It explores the three-dimensional geometry of the honeycomb cell and is suspended like a giant metal textile, a light and flexible architectural product, both decorative and functional. In this interior setting in Kuwait, the Cellscreen design floats comfortably as a decorative element in the traditional Middle Eastern style, but it brings a unique sculptural depth to this space casting reflections across the expansive internal glass and polished surfaces.

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Sculptural Seating
Stainless Steel
2500 to 4000mm

Jetstream as a bench concept was adopted some years ago as outdoor seating by the National Gallery of Victoria, stamping this seating as not just functional design but ‘fine art’. On an abstract level Korban Flaubert are exploring the spiral growth patterns in nature generating a diaphanous volume with a strict mathematical elliptical progression in stainless steel. On a functional level the Jetstream design sits lightly on the ground, a seemingly pliable and luxurious bench, made of fine steel rods woven like cane over the elliptical shape. The stainless steel material, these days made from 50% recycled scrap, is handcrafted, polished, durable beyond a lifetime and makes for the ultimate in outdoor ‘seating art’.

A visit to the Korban Flaubert website or their studio will inspire and open opportunities to integrate the fine art of sculpture into design solutions for the ultimate garden design or indoor-outdoor living experience.

Jo Moulton from JOMO Steel is compiling a profile collection of leading Australian sculptors and designers for the architectural, interior and landscape design market. Jo’s interest in sculpture and design stems from her past work in leading Australian museums and art galleries. She has her own design practice specialising in exterior design.