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PUBLIC ART: The Mall, Blackburn, 2011
Digitally printed glass and steel artwork

 

The pictures attached show a glass and steel wall-mounted public art feature that has been installed on the Church Street façade of Blackburn’s major shopping centre.  This feature was a planning requirement for the major refurbishment by the architects Colman Associates, of this central shopping mall.  The requirement was for a major wall-mounted piece that reflected the history of the town, and also that worked with the six large existing stainless steel and bronze sculptures that were installed some years ago in this pedestrianised street.  This resulting stainless steel and glass sculpture is over 50 metres long., and about 7 metres wide at the centre.

 

As a work of public art this involved a collaboration between the steel artists, Arcangel and Andrew Moor Associates.  The whole project was coordinated by Andrew Moor, who oversaw the design, the manufacture and the installation of all aspects of the work.

The imagery of the work depicts the long history of Blackburn with the cotton plant, hence the weaving steel strands and the dynamically coloured cotton buds.  The sixteen glass panels, each weighing about 150 kg, were hoisted into position from a crane and fixed into the stainless steel rods that were already fixed into the façade.  The location of each fixing had to be very precise to ensure the glass panels hung perfectly.

 

The curving stainless steel fronds that end in front of the wall-mounted glass panels were challenging to make, but much more challenging to install, requiring absolute precision in locating specially designed fixing places behind the soft Kingspan façade. The entire sculpture was fixed from external mobile scissors lifts and the final welds were made on site.  The fronds of steel project across the face of the glass panels following the curving form of the cotton buds.

 

colmanarchitects.co.uk»