First-time visitors to the Eiffel Tower are surprised when they see this mass of steel curves, scrolls and other delicate ironwork. How could anyone make lace out of steel? French engineer Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel did, earning the title of “magician of iron” after the tower’s 1889 Parisian debut, reports Biography.com.
Eiffel — like blacksmiths and ironworkers centuries before him — knew that, behind its rock-hard exterior, wrought iron could be as beautiful as it was functional.
In ancient times, iron was the material of choice for weapons and tools, according to Timeless Wrought Iron, makers of artisan-crafted wrought iron furniture, décor and accessories. By the 16th century, artisans were crafting wrought iron into decorative items, such as details in European cathedrals, balconies in Spain and gateways in France.
In the U.S., the use of these raw materials peaked in the 1860s, with the demand for warships and railways. During the next 100 years, the demand for wrought iron in mass production gradually diminished.
By the 1970s, a more affordable iron-based metal called “mile steel” replaced raw wrought iron. Much of the products manufactured today as “wrought iron” are, in fact, made of mild steel.
The Fine Art of Wrought-Iron Forging
Artisans, blacksmiths and other iron workers are still transforming iron into graceful curves, twists, scrolls and other ornamental forms. This fine art is now used primarily to replicate the highest quality in wrought iron chairs, tables, lanterns and other furnishings, or to restore and conserve vintage wrought iron items.
Today, wrought iron furniture, lighting and accessories continue to give homes and gardens enduring beauty and distinction. Actress Goldie Hawn’s Malibu mansion exemplifies both.
Versatility in Ms. Hawn’s Eclectic Home
A mix of the classic, the contemporary and the exotic is the hallmark of Ms. Hawn’s Malibu mansion. It’s not unusual to find a mix of décor in a single room. Abstract art hangs above a colonial-style mahogany desk in one ground-floor room. A grand stairway with old-world carved spindles connects the ground floor and balcony, in contrast with the clean, contemporary lines of the home’s architecture.
Appraised at $14,749,000, Ms. Hawn’s seaside home has expansive glass walls and ceilings that make indoor and outdoor spaces appear inseparable.
In one of Ms. Hawn’s garden spaces, two Asian-inspired wrought iron lanterns flank a rustic wooden door. The black, square-body lanterns, with semi-flat caps, are mounted on sandy-colored stone walls. The façade is reminiscent of tropical gardens in the South Pacific.
The dramatic contrast between the black garden lanterns and light stone walls is repeated in a second entryway. In a sunny sitting area filled with lush potted plants, another black wrought iron lantern hangs over a yellow upholstered bench. The lantern serves as a sconce, rendering the space casual and decorative, with more South Pacific charm.
No home with outdoor space for a garden or recreational area should be without a patio table and chairs, a chaise lounge or two, and touches of outdoor art in the form of garden stakes or trellises. Wrought iron offers the durability and beauty homeowners look for in outdoor furnishings. Wrought iron outdoor seating was artfully selected for Ms. Hawn’s lawn and garden accessories.
Photo Credit: Realtor.com