Windmill Gardens Gates

Great to see three new decorative gates I designed for the lovely public gardens in Broughty Ferry called Windmill Gardens. Gates were commissioned to enhance placemaking part of the new re-development of the esplanade.

Site Specific Inspiration

I took inspiration from the history that a wood-turning windmill stood on the site of Windmill Gardens around 1850s. In my design work I like to capture a sense of place and linking the history of the windmill helps to reconnect the name of the park to its past .

Design Process

I went through numerous iterations of composition, imagery and colours with consideration to the technical aspect of producing final designs that would be fit for purpose and meet the brief. I wanted to capture the movement of the windmill blades/sails and I playfully tested different compositions and imagery mixing my love of circles and stripes.

The three gates works as a series but each is individual with linking imagery and work visually inside and outside the gardens. It took many iterations from the bright gates I mocked up (below) to the final designs.

The new decorative gates were to replace 2 old gates that were not fit for purpose and to add a new entrance opposite Castle Green Playpark. I worked with local fabricator AS Fabrication to fabricate and install the gates and used Dundee based Tayside Powder Coated Services to apply the colour and Ieva to work on vectors. Gates were designed to be opened both ways to help with accessibility and consideration was made for the best material and processes for for the site. Colour is important to me and my initial thinking was to have sunset inspired colours but as the designs developed and the choices of colour palette was limited I chose this pigeon blue.

Bigger Picture

For me I want to create a welcoming and uplifting feel for locals and visitors by creating meaningful designs that re-connect people to the place and help highlight the gardens that are for public use.  I highly recommend this little secret garden, always something lovely to spot!

Broughty Ferry esplanade is going through a transformation to help improve active travel, part of a much bigger picture you can find out more here.

I designed gates for Castle Terrace Gardens just next to Windmill Gardens which have a different look to suit the space, you can see a link with the stripes and circles. More info here

Photo above from Dundee City Council

What has no corners or beginning or end?

Circles keep popping up in my life! I’ve been reflecting on my design practice through the years (24 years ago since I started professionally in the creative industries from leaving DJCAD. I’ve gone down a bit of a rabbit warren and found a whole series of designs and artwork from the last 24. years through my time as a textile designer into more recently where I create bespoke artwork for the public realm. It’s funny how different themes stay at my core.

More recently I found lots of circles in my research of all the departments within Dundee Contemporary Art building for their site-specific window design commission.

The various patterns inside the circles captures the range of activity that goes on inside the building and I loved playing the layout of the of them bouncing/floating as if they were moving and falling into place.  Giving an energetic feel!  I adored this commission, from the research, problem solving, developing the concept and the trust of the DCA to create my creative response to the building. If you want to read more about the process of this you can here

With each design commission I am responding to the place, the people who use the space and the purpose of adding designs so that I can give the best results possible with the biggest impact. 

These circle designs have a more homely feel as they were for the communal corridor in a sheltered housing unit and tenants wanted to have a less clinical and corporate feel.  The circle shape allowed me to group together common themes that came from the tenant consultation and the arrangement of the circles in colour groups to aid wayfinding. If you would like to read more about my sheltered housing work you can here

Then popping up more recently is the circle shutter art part of a parade of artwork for Stobswell in Dundee, for the the local Chinese takeaway.  I love the clashing of colour and impact from a distance but when you get closer you can see the meaningful decoration inspired by the local area. This giant circle was made using a makeshift compass with a bit of string and chalk – old school methods at their best! If you want to read more you can here

For the Riso Soup Misprint publication and exhibition of exploring the concept of misprints and serendipitous errors I chose to explore exciting combinations of how colour and pattern sit together, playing with layout and movement to create this composition as if elements are misprinted.

Most recently circles are for my creative response to ‘Outside In’ which is inspired by noticing the positives in nature and the feeling of gratitude that creates an inner positive wellbeing. I loved playing with the composition of the different textures, images and surfaces to create these circles of circles.

Circles are such satisfying shapes to play with….. I’m sure you’ll see more in my future work! And check out the lovely stacked circles in in this lovely eco house at Guardswell Farm that I saw last week.

I have a vision of the world full of colourful creative interventions to bring more joy to the spaces we play, live, work and travel through.  My aim is to uplift and connect people and highlight the positives by creating artworks that capture a sense of place which creates a sense of belonging.  I love to do this with my use of playfully applying colour and pattern.

I am ready to take on new design challenges and if you have a project, collaboration or commission in mind please get in touch or you can check some samples on my website to give you a flavour of previous projects.