BBC BLOGS - The Reporters: Razia Iqbal
« Previous | Main | Next »

Should B Of The Bang be saved?

Razia Iqbal | 16:08 UK time, Thursday, 20 November 2008

B of the BangI promised on Tuesday that I would update you after I had spoken to Thomas Heatherwick, the designer who had probably the first major setback of his otherwise rather glittering career.

There won't be a decision from Manchester City Council on what will happen to his B Of The Bang sculpture until next year - and the ball is definitely in the council's court. But it was clear from my conversation with him that he wants to see it saved.

Heatherwick was constrained in what he could say because of the legal settlement. But it was obvious the piece is very dear to his heart. Not least because it's his design, but also because he was a student in Manchester and he passionately believes that exciting choices can be made about our built environment - that cities need things that make them distinctive and that sculpture can play a significant role.

I think that if the council - who, let's not forget, had the ambition to commission his piece in the first place - were willing to fix what has gone wrong, then they have the option to do so with the money from the settlement. They, of course, have to weigh up local sentiment and it continues to be divided pretty much down the middle.

Local newspaper, the Manchester Evening News, says the sculpture is set to be pulled down, but that decision is far from certain. The newspaper appears to be presenting what it clearly thinks is the prevailing view: That the sculpture must be removed, and it is running a video entitled D for Disaster. On other Manchester websites, such as Manchester Confidential, postings are full of enthusiastic support of the work.

Public art gets people involved. It's meant to, and passion is an important part of that debate.


  • Comment number 1.

    Saved by who?

    The council tax payer presumably.

    Manchester has some very deprived areas, personally I think the council would be better off sorting them out rather than throwing good money after bad away.

    I quite like the way it looks but it just seems to me that Manchester City Council has its priorities all wrong.

  • Comment number 2.

    Thanks for the promise !!

  • Comment number 3.

    #1 . .agree . people before art any day.

    It looks fantastic and if it was safe then it should stay (having spent the money already).

    But it has serious 'risks' that a cash strapped council cant afford to pay claims on.

    So why not get the compensation from the designer to pay to have it professionally destroyed by a demolition company, filming the event to make another 'art statement'.

    Just a thought.



Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.