Bollards & Post Covers

Introducing: Crash-Rated Garden Gnomes

A car crashes into an angry looking yellow bollard gnome while other happy gnomes look on

Permanent pixie protectors, tested for toughness

April 1, 2021

Our mission at Reliance Foundry is to “make places people want to be.” We believe in supporting attractive and welcoming public space. Traditionally, we’ve focused on creating designs that add beauty to mostly unnoticed elements of our streetscapes.

Today, we do something new. Something bold. Something innovative.

Our bollards stand guard on the perimeter of gorgeous human spaces—yet they’re so overlooked many people don’t even know what they’re called. We asked ourselves the question: why should the heroic bollard be humble and unassuming? Why should it be just the stuttering sidekick to beautiful architecture?

Why should bollards be a lovely frame rather than a main attraction?

And so we have introduced our newest line of bollards: Crash-Rated Garden Gnomes.

A car crashes into an angry looking yellow bollard gnome while other happy gnomes look on
Introducing new Reliance Foundry Crash-Rated Gnomes!

Why garden gnomes?

Bollards are the pixies of the modern streetscape. Always there, rarely seen.

Gnomes were once as unseen, and yet still were described by philosophers as a powerful force upon humanity. Paracelsus—the Swiss alchemist of the 1500s who reintroduced opium to Europe—explained that gnomes were elemental earth beings. His philosophy suggested that every life was connected: gnomes gave their rooted earth energy to humanity, even though they did not like to interact with people.

Is it any wonder that sculptures of these beings guard our gardens?

The first gnomic garden carvings were popular in Germany. Now, gnomes peer out from under leaves and decorate garden perimeters all over the world, from Hong Kong to Honolulu.

Bollards too are used to peeking out of the street scene. Bollards also set the perimeter. Bollards and gnomes together have stood protectively around gardens. Yet bollards are in many other places too: plazas, parks, and squares. Heritage sites, government buildings, and sports stadia. Wherever people are gathering to socialize and have fun, bollards are there, offering their own form of protection and magic.

Why not bring gnomes to new perimeters? Or give bollards the magic of gnomes? Why not bring the ever ethereal to the engineered and concrete? The combination just makes sense.

Woody the Travelling Gnome stands in a violet patch with Big Ben in the background
User Patrickneil, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia. A travelling gnome with London’s Big Ben in the background.

Architecture and the travelling gnome

Gnomes have been on the move since the 1980s. A legion of travelling gnomes have escaped their gardens and have sent pics home in front of monuments and other fine architecture from locations all over the world. The most famous is Gnome Severson, whose selfie with Paris Hilton landed him a spot on the Today show.

Images of gnomes in front of architecture made it clear, however, that great architecture and diminutive gnomes are an aesthetic match made in heaven.

Bollards, with their long history, are often chosen to support and match architecture from classical to modern times. How is it that the gnomic bollard has been so long overlooked as an aesthetic solution? We have seen the need and we will answer it.

A variety of colorful gnomes stretch along the curb of a traditional European streetscape
Garden gnome bollards: a bold new way to create public space.

Gnomes, bringing the heat

Whether your site is a UNESCO heritage site or a public thoroughfare, crash-rated gnomes will help prevent vehicle related disaster.

Crash-rated site furniture is designed to prevent destruction caused by vehicle attack or accident. Each item is tested to stop a certain class of vehicle moving a certain speed within 3ft.

We are offering several types of crash-rated gnomes for your site’s perimeter protection.

  • Pixie – This small gnome with a sweet smile will stop compact cars going 30mph.
  • Standard – Available in see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil versions, these gnomes stop mid-size trucks at 30mph.
  • Monster – Monster gnomes come with either a butterfly or a lantern. They stop mid-size trucks moving at 50mph.
  • Gigantor – Gigantor gnomes have a piercing expression and an axe. (They may in fact be dwarves.) They will stop 16-wheelers rushing toward impact at 50mph.

An exciting new day for Reliance Foundry

At Reliance we’ve always been eager to create safe perimeters for people and places with our complete bollard line.

We’ve also heard the question “what’s a bollard?” more times than any of us can count.

We look forward to a future when that question is no longer on anyone’s lips. We embrace the day when people are excited to greet their bollard gnomes on the way to work.

These fierce little cryptids are eager to stand strong wherever their protection is needed.