A decommissioned offshore platform in the North Sea transformed into one of United Kingdom‘s largest public art installations ‘SEE Monster.’ Visitors to the Tropicana on the Weston-super-Mare seafront will be welcomed on board for the first time from Saturday 24th September. The installation hopes to stimulate conversations about reuse and renewable energy.
Commissioned as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, the assemblage spans four levels, each open to the public and enlivened by a ten meter (33 foot) waterfall. A multi-level slide offers an alternative route through space, while a 6,000-piece kinetic installation is expressed as shimmering scales. The space also includes kinetic wind sculptures, a wild garden of coastal grasses, plants and trees, artist-designed sustainable energy experiments, an amphitheater, expansive views from the helideck and a broadcast studio.
SEE MONSTER, part of ‘UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK. Courtesy of Ben Birchall© PA Media
the sea-monster transformation by NewSubstance
Overall, SEE Monster rises thirty-five meters (115 feet) above the Weston-super-Mare shoreline. The ambitious transformation of the industrial structure into a public body is an unprecedented engineering feat at the helm of the Leeds-based company creative studio NEW SUBSTANCE. In July, the 450-ton (992,000-pound) platform was transported by sea on a football-field-sized barge to Weston-super-Mare beach, known for having the second-highest tidal range in the world. It was then hoisted over the seawall onto prefabricated legs within the Tropicana using a crane.
the ‘garden laboratory’ by the sea
SEE MONSTER’s Garden Lab will feature trees that reach nine meters tall, plants and grasses chosen to withstand salty breezes and Atlantic storms; SEE MONSTER’s roar, the waterfall, will continuously circulate through the pools at its base; and the effects of the weather are seen and heard as the wind blows through the installations and garden to stimulate discussion about the science behind Great Britain’s weather and how it can support a sustainable future.
a “wind nest” of renewable energies
Fusing art and renewable energy, WindNest, designed by artist Trevor Lee, consists of two rotating, airborne capsules that use wind and solar technology to generate clean energy that powers the irrigation system for The Garden Lab. WindNest is made in partnership with the Land Art Generator Initiative, an art and design-led renewable energy team seeking innovative solutions to contribute to a zero-carbon future.
Kinetic sculptor Ivan Black has created two sculptures depicting the sun and moon set in motion by the wind. Portions of the sculptures rotate about their symmetrical axes and are designed to be in constant chaotic but graceful motion. Made of aluminum, they are designed to withstand the elements, particularly the corrosive salt in sea air, and inspire a sense of wonder at how they work. Describing them as both engineering and art, Ivan said: “I hope they will inspire others to think creatively about technology.’
Project title: SEE monsters
Architecture: NEWSUBSTANCE | @newsubstance
Location: Weston Super Mare, UK
Photography: courtesy of Ben Birchall© PA Media