Change - The Old Fire Station, Oxford

An arts commission and project with a difference for EMSEA

Emsea Ltd was carefully selected by collaborating artists Rachel Barbaresi and Emma Reynard for a project with a difference. Lead artist, Rachel Barbaresi, headed up a commission by Arts at the newly refurbished Old Fire Station in Oxford. 

laser cutting art project

Client: Rachel Barbaresi & Emma Reynard
Sector: Architecture and Design
Material: Stainless Steel
Machinery: Bystronic 6KW ByAutonom Laser

the old fire station Oxford

From drawing to Bystronic laser cutter

Working alongside ten artist participants, recruited from homeless projects around the city, the contributors experimented with a wide range of artistic processes centred round the theme ‘Growth’ at the beautiful Botanic Garden of Oxford University.

Posing an interesting project for the Tewkesbury-based engineering firm, Emsea engineers took the vector drawings created from the imaginative handiwork of the contributors, and carefully oversaw the cutting process on the Bystronic laser cutter.

The overall design of the main atrium wall consisted of 40 panels, with some repetition of designs at different scales to construct a ‘scatter’ effect. Emsea were able to craft each panel individually using a mix of finishes including mirror polished steel and brushed steel, to contrast with the industrial look of the building.

Rachel Barbaresi noted: “Emsea staff were very accommodating and spent a lot of time explaining how the machines and processes work. By imparting their knowledge and ensuring we fully understood the processes, we were able to work alongside the engineers to find solutions to design obstacles.”

Rachel added: “This work has come to symbolise the ambition of the Old Fire Station – supporting the professional development of artists and giving homeless people opportunities to develop skills and confidence; we are proud to have played our part.”

Further information on the project can be found at:

laser cutting case study
24 hour laser cutting service

Creating high volume parts in the most efficient way possible


Produces highly accurate components at higher cutting speed than a conventional water jet


Manufacturing complex components for a variety of applications


The production of parts and assemblies that offer the most cost-effective solution


Conception and design, right through to completion

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