Engineers have begun work to put together the world’s largest blown steel structure in the centre of Gateshead.
Called Halo, the huge sculpture – designed by local artist Stephen Newby – is to take pride of place at the centre of the town’s multi-million pound Trinity Square development.
And it has meant more jobs for skilled welders at the Ryton-based firm Impress Group, which is having to turn the idea into a 27ft wide reality.
Gateshead Council’s cabinet member for culture Linda Green said it was great to see Tyneside creativity and industry working together to create the new landmark.
“It is fantastic that a local artist and local manufacturer are able to work together to produce another iconic piece of artwork in the heart of Gateshead.”
Each part of the sculpture is being laser cut at Impress with the “blown” steel process giving a unique shape to each component and creating a stainless steel ‘cushion’. Each one is ‘inflated’ using water rather than air, as water is more controllable, with over 320 of the cushions brought together using highly specialised Tig welding techniques to create the completed artwork.
Jason Young, commercial director of Impress Group, said: “The Group is delighted with the prospect of being involved with such a fantastic project. We have worked with designer Stephen Newby for a number of years now and the fact that it will be a local landmark has made our involvement very rewarding.”
“We are presently very busy with a variety of work, having just recruited five apprentices. This project has just secured another specialist welder to the team. It is so positive to see local manufacturing busy and we hope our involvement will bring future contracts to our door, allowing us to grow to employ further staff from the local area.”
The sculpture, which is being paid for by Tesco’s development arm Spenhill, and which will sit alongside a multi-screen cinema, bars, restaurants and the new Tesco Extra store, will be completed later in the year.