Published: 09 January 2013
Designs in Stainless
A family firm based near Shaftesbury in Dorset designs and produces some of the most creative art and structural pieces available in stainless steel.

Chris Allen discusses a design detail with Alan Card in his workshop
Alan Card is the MD of Designs in Stainless and has great skill in coming up with imaginative designs that can be turned into wonderful art sculptures, bespoke structures for interior or landscape projects and architectural components to compliment a design commission by his architect son Wayne.
Alan’s work is sought after by private clients, corporations and institutions, with commissioned pieces designed and build by him gracing the homes of the rich and famous, and corporate buildings around the world.

High Specification

Designs in Stainless also has an extensive range of ‘standard’ garden products, including planters of all shapes and sizes suitable for all styles of gardens, balconies and roof terraces. Their obelisks and polished spheres range from a few centimetres up to 2 metres high with bespoke engraving being available to add specific detail and create dramatic focal points while the moving or static water features add great interest to any indoor or outdoor space.

The National Garden Show display garden

Examples of bespoke stainless work are endless with pieces designed to fit into the most inaccessible spaces on rooftop terraces, basement entertainment complexes and bridges across lakes and streams. Very large pieces have also been fabricated prior to their installation in large gardens and public spaces.  Alan’s design skills and engineering experience will ensure that any commission undertaken will result in a finished work of great beauty and the highest quality of workmanship.  

The materials used are combinations of mirror polished or brushed finish, all are stainless steel grade 304 for the majority of work but where locations are near the coast grade 316 is used to ensure erosion from salt will not affect the steel.

It is worth noting that the higher capital cost for stainless steel work may appear expensive compared to other metals but there are many advantages, especially when the minimal maintenance requirements, its durability and extremely long life are taken into account

Show Time

Medal winning show garden at Hampton Court
I have been fortunate to work with Alan on several garden design and construction projects for clients over many years plus several RHS Chelsea Flowers Shows where our annual displays received top awards from the judges.

 We collaborated closely on two small show gardens at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show where we received silver and bronze medals. We also staged large gardens at the National Gardening Show where Gold Medals and Best in Show came our way on two occasions.

For me the use of such a hard, shiny material in a garden can provide a great contrast to the soft textures of the planting and the very angular shapes of a formal piece can add great interest to the flowing curves of an informal garden design. Likewise the hard steel surface can reflect and compliment the colour of soft stonework when used nearby.  Stainless steel is a wonderful material to use in garden design, however the important points are to use it carefully and in moderation, it is definitely a case of having a limited number of beautiful pieces well positioned that act as focal points and add interest; less can defiantly be more with good design.

To see more of the work carried out by Alan Card at Designs in Stainless visit their website:

RHS Chelsea Show display

Reported by Chris Allen  

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