Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Balls on the Falls - delay to "Rise" sculpture on Broadway roundabout

Trillian sculpture - no longer planned for Broadway roundabout

As part of the Westlink road works, Broadway roundabout was to get a 45m tall flower erected in the middle of it. Ed Carpenter won a Belfast City Council-led commissioning competition with his expression of a post-troubles city.

“Trillian rises over Broadway Roundabout, marking the southern entrance to Belfast, offering a symbol of transformation. Its gesture is bold and delicate, engineered and organic, familiar and extraordinary. The delicacy of nature and the strength of human resolve are suggested in graceful lines and robust steel. Trillian reaches upward toward the light.

Perched and leaning, it suggests life in the balance. This sense of precariousness is only symbolic, however, as myriad armored cables insure great structural integrity and redundancy. At night Trillian forms a luminous beacon in the sky, visible for miles. Rainy skies are penetrated by beams of light extending up into the mists, further heightening the presence of the sculpture.”

Problem was that the price of steel forced a rethink, and a fresh competition.

But now the replacement public art has been delayed by six months.

model of Broadway roundabout sculpture - Rise

Rise” is expected to stand 35m high, and will feature LED lighting allowing “the sculpture to glow and pulse at night”.

Talking in the Nottingham Evening Post, artist Wolfgang Buttress explained why work on the £400,000 design - “Rise” - has been pushed back to the spring while his design was finalised and contractors were found. And there’s “the Northern Ireland Government’s [DRD Roads Service] annual two-month ban on roadworks over the festive period” ...

“We had a short time scale. The work had to be done over the summer while there is good weather. The start, however, was delayed and if it had got any later in the year we would have meant we were getting into winter, so it seemed a sensible decision to delay it until next spring.”

“There are about 7,500 struts of different lengths that have to be manufactured, as well as 2,000 pressed discs that the struts go into. We need to make the jig that it will all sit in before we can then think about the main construction process. The sculpture is simple, but because it is 35m high it needs to be done accurately.”

Local wags are already nicknaming the sculpture “Balls on the Falls” ...

artist's impression of 'Rise' sculpture, planned for Belfast's Broadway roundabout

So while the road opened ahead of time (and celebrated with an early bath!), the public art on top of the roundabout is going to be late.

7 comments:

Anonymous Hero said...

"If it gets planning permission" (last line from the news report)

Anonymous said...

Another incredibly awful looking piece of art much like the other monstrosity in Cornmarket.

Alan in Belfast said...

@Anonymous - the news report was from a year ago ... it should have planning permission by now!

Timothy Belmont said...

My views on abstract art are well known! :-)

Roy said...

@Anonymous I must say this piece will look stunning when finalised and installed. I think the lighting system will remind me of the Victoria Square dome when lit at night. Your always gonna have criticism on these pieces of work, but people need to open their eyes abit and venture out of the 'bubbles'

Niall Ó Donnghaile said...

I really like 'the bark in the park' along the falls

http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/culture/artcommissions.asp

Mr Brightside said...

It will make for a very impressive entrance to Belfast as you approach via the Broadway underpass.

I hope it isn't further delayed in the name of saving a quick buck. projects like these are essential to project an image of a very dynamic city to potential investors.