You’ll find David Harber’s award-winning artworks gracing some of the most prestigious addresses across the world, from public spaces to luxury developments, hotels to private gardens, his sculptures always react to and engage with the unique spaces they are commissioned for.
While he is best known for his outdoor sculptures, his team’s knack for sensitively tailoring each project to reflect the identity of that space has made his work popular with interior designers too.
He began his career making sundials and his fascination with celestial movements has always guided his work. Arguably it was something that was born in his blood – he is the direct descendant of John Belgrave, the Elizabethan mathematician and scientific instrument maker, who, coincidently, spent most of his life 20 miles from David Harber’s Oxfordshire workshop, which sits in the shadow of a Bronze Age hill fort.
‘Throughout history, every culture has sought inspiration and guidance from the heavens and my keen interest in astronomy and the stars allows me to bring celestial mechanics to life, capturing the passage of time and space in my sculpture,’ says David.
Further inspired by the elemental interaction of light and reflection David uses materials such as brass, copper, bronze, stainless steel and stone. Every piece is made in his workshop where he has built up a team that possesses exceptional breadth of knowledge and skill. Last year, the company was bestowed with The Queen’s Award for International Trade for its outstanding overseas growth while remaining committed to British design and craftsmanship.
Every bespoke commission is personally supported by David, helping a client to shape their vision, from the first site visit and conceptual sketches, through to working drawings and installation. However for less deep pockets there is the option to customise existing designs by choosing the materials, size, finishes, etching and engraving in seemingly endless combinations.
There are two ways to get to grips with David Harber’s work. Time-poor Londoners can view his semi-permanent exhibition in the private gardens of Eaton Square but, for the full experience, David will happily show you around his workshop and studio in Oxfordshire.
‘I have a desire to make pieces that confound perception,’ says David. His playful use of light and reflection is just one element that makes his sculptures so complex and enchanting. His pieces often invite the viewer to question what they see and to usher them into another dimension with the use of shape, media and materials. Rough-cut slate is transformed into smooth sculptural pieces, while highly polished stainless steel mirrors its environment, reflecting seasonal change and becoming part of its surroundings.
These artworks are designed to evolve with the landscape, to change with the seasons and to interact with the environment, giving a true sense of place. Like nature, they are never static. In doing so, David hopes to reawaken the contemplative spirit with which we have lost touch. ‘People with no time to spare become spellbound when you show them an altered reality in the fabric of a sculpture,’ he says. And this truly is one of the most important roles of art today; to force us to pause and contemplate.
DAVID HARBER LTD BLEWBURTON BARNS, ASTON UPTHORPE, OXFORDSHIRE OX11 9EE +44 (0)1235 859300