West End gardens
NAME : West End Gardens DATE : 2007 LOCATION : Morecambe CLIENT : Lancashire County Council PARTNERS : BCA Landscape, NL Williams, LEW Foundry, Aitken & Howard Timber
In 2007, we were invited to join a design team with BCA Landscape, to produce artworks that could be integrated into a new West End Promenade Gardens in Morecambe. The focus was to create an all year round community park and garden.
There was an aspiration to engage with the community throughout the process of the design.
A concept was created through a substantial process with sixth formers from Heysham High school. A design team was established that included seven sixth formers from the school, with skills and interests, ranging from art and design, business studies, journalism and teaching.
They created the theme of the natural elements; earth, wind, fire and water, for the series of artworks throughout the gardens.
The design team also recognised the need for a beacon to be sited at the Regent Road end of the gardens, welcoming the town into the garden. The theme of fishing was chosen and a design entitled ‘Hook’ was produced, depicting a stylised fishing rod casting out to sea. The Hook of the fishing rod is attached to bronze fish, designed and modelled by the local Primary School children and organised by the sixth formers.
Working with Birse Civils the artworks were installed in August 2007. The Mayor Helen Helme opened the Gardens on the 8 September 2007. The students played a significant part in the whole process, and were a tremendous credit to the school.
The Hook Beacon - Schools Project
An idea was also conceived to engage with the Primary Schools, which involved a ‘sea creatures’ drawing competition with every child participating, and a winner in each year group being able to actually transform their drawings into clay in a series of workshops with Broadbent Studio and the students.
The project was presented by the student team of Heysham High school at the school assemblies of Sandylands Primary school and West End Primary school.
The Primary School children were asked to insert drawings of sea creatures on a project information sheet, specially prepared by one of the Heysham students interested in graphic design. A judging panel chose one winner from each of the schools year groups, and those children were invited to Heysham High school where they modelled their designs in clay. The clay designs were then arranged onto a domed shape, and a fibreglass pattern created through a rubber mould of the composed design. This was then cast into bronze.
The 14m tall beacon was fabricated in cor-ten weathering steel with the bent rod made of stainless steel pipes and spacers, the fishing line steel cable connects to a bronze hook welded to the bronze sea creatures dome.
“Nothing is wasted, nothing is in vain: the seas roll over but the rocks remain” A.P. Herbert 1949
It was decided that the Element Earth should take the form of Rock and relate directly to the geology of Morecambe. This evolved into a ‘rock’ seat, a unique sculptural bench using found glacial stones. Six different shaped stones were split in half and and their top face polished. These were set into a curved section of Corten steel. The effect was a very unique looking seat 3m in length with six obvious seating point.
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward
It was decided with the students to connect Wind with Sound and to make a sculpture inspired by the ancient aeolian instruments, where wind creates random changing sounds. As we began to explore ways of making this happen, the design developed into the form of seven stainless steel trumpets of varying heights, shapes and angles standing like sea horns proudly calling out in all directions. The 4m high, stainless steel sculpture has wires set in the trumpet spun cavity allowing them to resonates when the wind passes over them.
“I didn't ask for it to be over, but then again, I never asked for it to begin. For that's the way it is with life, as some of the most beautiful days come completely by chance. But even the most beautiful days eventually have their sunsets.” Anon
It was decided by the students to connect Fire with the Sun, and to create a picture frame which captured the views of the sunset across Morecambe bay. A 5 x 3m purple heart timber structure frames the remarkable Morecambe Bay sunsets. The edge of the picture frame holds rebated ceramic tiles illustrating the whole range of colours seen within a sunset. The structure also serves as an informal seating area, sited on the raised area within the park.
“As man has within him a pool of blood, wherein the lungs as he breathes expand and contract, so the earth has its ocean which rises and falls every six hours with the breathing of the world” Leonardo DaVinci (1452-1519)
It was decided that the Element Water should take the form of the Tides. This was expressed through a 2.5m diameter cast bronze dome, that represents the earth, with eight smaller domes representing the cycle of the moon around the earth and resin bound glass illustrating the changing tides. The bronze depicts patterns of the worlds continents in low-relief, with an enlarged illustration of Morecambe Bay.