ONCE the South Yorkshire skyline boasted the Tinsley Towers...now get ready for the Canalside Chimneys.
Sheffield’s replacement for the famous cooling towers, which were demolished in 2008, will be a “family” of four sculptural, red brick chimney sculptures alongside the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal at Tinsley.
Plans for the ambitious art project — made up of four separate pieces standing up to 30 metres tall — will be officially unveiled tomorrow by artist Alex Chinneck at Sheffield Town Hall.
Chinneck’s homage to South Yorkshire’s industrial heritage, which would stand less than a mile from Rotherham’s planned Steel Man sculpture, is said to be the region’s largest-ever art commission.
It is earmarked for completion in two years’ time.
Titled Onwards & Upwards, the four chimneys will include:
- A cracked chimney broken into 250 pieces, beautifully illuminated from within
- A hovering chimney with an upper section that appears to miraculously float
- Two leaning chimneys, standing 45m apart, that dramatically bridge the canal
- A curving chimney, made of over 25,000 bricks, tied into a knot
They have been designed to act as spectacular cultural beacons and attract visitors from the length and breadth of the UK.
Each sculpture is equivalent to the size of a ten-storey building, making it one of the most ambitious public artworks ever conceived.
Together they will incorporate 100,000 bespoke curving bricks, wrapped around a stainless steel core.
Chinneck, who was appointed last year, said: “Tinsley has a proud and important industrial heritage and many chimneys once lined the canal.
“Through a process of architectural re-introduction, sculptural re-imagination and modern manufacturing, we have attempted to create a regionally relevant and nationally significant cultural attraction.”
The artist’s previous projects include a “hovering” building in Covent Garden, and a house made of 7,500 wax bricks, which proceeded to melt over 45 days.
And last week, he installed a temporary sculpture in Tinsley, which appeared to show a one-tonne car hanging upside-down from a curling strip of tarmac.
The artwork attracted 5,000 visitors over five days, including the whole of Tinsley Meadows Primary Academy.
Illustrator Ella Worthington, a graduate of Sheffield Hallam University, photographers Martin Hogg and Marc Wilmot, Lunar Animation and drone-specialists, Fleye will all be involved in the project, while Tinsley residents have been appointed to a board overseeing it.
Cllr Mary Lea, Sheffeld City Council’s cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, said: “Alex’s proposal is truly born of the place — knitting together its fascinating past and present, and evolving through collaboration with local businesses.
“We hope this permanent sculpture will be embraced by the community and enjoyed by people from far and wide.”
Sheffield and Rotherham Council, Tinsley Forum and Arts Council England, as well as sponsors E.ON, who awarded the commission, are all involved in the project, along with major sponsor, British Land, landowners Yorkshire Water and the Canal and River Trust, Sheffield Cultural Consortium and Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust.
Rotherham Borough Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and cultural services, Cllr Taiba Yasseen, said: “These astonishing new artworks celebrate Rotherham and Sheffield's shared industrial heritage and connects this to our contemporary engineering and manufacturing industries.
“This imaginative project will encourage residents and visitors alike to enjoy the canal-side walk between Rotherham's town centre and Meadowhall.
“It is wonderful to have the opportunity to have work by artist Alex Chinneck, with his outstanding reputation for innovation and excellence, right here on our doorstep.”