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28 October 2014

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You are in Entertainment > Culture > Waterfront Needle
Artists impression of how the golden jubilee neddle will sit in it's waterfront centre surroundings.
Artists impression of how the Golden Jubilee needle will sit in its waterfront centre surroundings.

Is there really a point to all this public art? Well there is now with a proposed giant needle sticking out of the Waterfront.

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The public sculpture being erected for the Queen's Golden Jubilee will be 1.5 metres wide at the base and will be 14 metres high with a fine point at the top. The sculpture will feature four different types of stone in a pattern designed to reflect the movement and hues of the sea.

The sculpture will be part funded by the States Golden Jubilee committee who have granted £75,000 to the project. The scheme is going to cost a total of £200,000 with the remaining money raised by the private sector.

The work is expected to be completed by May 2004.

The process

Richard Perry, the man behind the needle came up with the distinctive conical shape after spending many hours on the Waterfront observing the colours of the sea and movement of the water.

Artist impression of the Needle situated between flats on the St Helier Waterfront
Artist impression of the Needle situated between flats on the St Helier Waterfront

Although the design is simple, the needle is still complex and a technical piece of structural engineering. The foundations for the sculpture need to be strong enough to support the weight of 20 tonnes of slate, but they must also be absolutely level to ensure that the needle stands perfectly straight.

Richard Perry has said that "assembling the needle is going to take great patience, care and technical skill".

He went to comment that only a sculpture on the scale proposed would work in the area.

Talking about the design and materials Richard said that the needle had been carefully designed so that it can be enjoyed from many different directions and using slate means it will be practical and durable.

Richard wanted the needle to be built straight out of the ground and not on a plinth so that it "becomes part of the environment rather than be a more domestic object".

Richard Perry

Richard is well known for his carved sculptures in stone. Graduating from Leeds Polytechnic in 1981 with a Fine Art degree, he began his career as a painter and sculptor, but quickly realised where his talents lay.

Richard says: “Although it is a very hard material to work with, stone is an excellent canvas onto which you can project your ideas. Because it is so resilient, it is well used in public art which is increasingly being commissioned by local authorities and large companies to create interesting and attractive environments”.

Sheffield Peace Gardens

One of Richard's most high profile award winning projects was his stone work in the Peace Gardens in Sheffield. The scheme was one of six Millennium Projects in the UK and was aimed at providing a popular green space for residents in the heart of the city centre.

Sheffield Peace Gardens fountain, designed by Needle Designer Richard Perry.
Sheffield Peace Gardens fountain, designed by Needle Designer Richard Perry.

The project involved a collaboration of three artists who were experts in stone, ceramics and metal as well as landscape artists and planners. Richard’s role in the stonework involved styling the stone throughout the scheme and designing the carved elements which reflected the local rivers.

“It was one of the most interesting public projects I have been involved with, simply because a lot of the stone work was done on site. I was in charge of a large carving team and this meant that the people of Sheffield had a very good understanding of what was taking shape and it created a great deal of civic pride”.

In addition to his public work with local authorities and regional development agencies, Richard spends a great deal of his time working at his studio in Nottingham where he researches and designs pieces that inspire his commissioned works. Most recently he has carved and cast nine sculptures for the new cruise liner Queen Victoria, which will enter service in 2005 as the second largest Cunard ship ever built.

As well as exhibiting his work in the UK, Richard has displayed work in Poland, Slovenia and Japan and is planning a joint show next year with a fellow artist in Miami.

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The Golden Jubilee Needle is expected to be completed by May 2004.

The project will cost £200,000 with £75,000 being granted by the States Golden Jubilee committee and the rest made up from the private sector.

The sculpture will be made from slate supplied by Burlington Slate and will contain four types of stone.

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