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Steel wave

Client: Newport Borough Council

In Newport, where as Town Sculptor with the Architectural and Housing Department between 1988 - 1991, Peter Fink undertook his Steel Wave commission

In the event, he spearheaded the whole funding strategy for Steel Wave, including a big private sector input from British Steel (who co fabricated the sculpture) with 16

  • ther companies, as well as the European Commission, the Welsh Development Agency and Newport City, with several awards from Central Government under the Business Sponsorship Incentive Scheme,

In 1990 the project won a British Gas/Am Council Working for Cities Award.

"Although the Borough Council had expected a great deal from this appointment I doubt very

much if they could have anticipated the sheer magnitude of the project and the energy that the artist brought to his post. As a part of my job, at the Arts Association, I come in to contact with a great many artists who are invariably hard working, innovative and generous with their time but even by these demanding and exacting standards Peter proved exceptional in his ability. The realisation of the "Steel Wave" has to be the most striking example of sculpture Newport has ever seen and is by no means an "easy" piece of work. Harnessing a complex combination of interests, organisations and sponsors was a job suitable for Henry Kissinger as much as an artist. Peter's diplomatic skills, tenacity and ability to clearly articulate his ideas succeeded where fainter hearts would have not lasted the pace.

Over a period of two and a half years this ambitious project, which could not have happened

without the important support and belief of Newport Borough Council, came to life. It has been an education watching this project from conception through to completion, Newport will not forget the time Peter spent working there." Richard Cox the Arts development Officer of the South East Wales Arts Association, which was instrumental in setting up the residency.

The initial development of this project involved an extensive public consultation reaching an estimated thirty thousand local people, Peter Fink toured with the exhibition of the preliminary proposals for the river- front to various public venues, including supermarkets, schools, factories and old people's homes. This wide ranging consultation was not concerned with securing a popular aesthetic endorsement but with the direct engaging of people with the concept of the sculpture in general, as well as with the specific underlying philosophy of regeneration to their town."

RIBA International Competition

Second Prize

Client: City of Newport

Considerably later after the erection of the Steel Wave Peter Fink took part in a competition for a new Market square -   a key space reconnecting the town cen­tre with its water edge celebrating Newport’s links to the sea and steel making. The spatial organisation of the new square redefines the present ambiguous and ill-defined area into a high impact location, a pedestrian dominant space with a clear circula­tion and non-conflicting traffic hierar­chy.

The proposal assumed the relocation of the Steel Wave as a focal point of a visually dynamic wave like deck cantilevering over the river Usk. Together they form a dramatic and panoramic gateway to Market Square. The timber platform provides a soft conclusion to the stone floorscape, a positive link with the marine environ­ment of the river. The waveform from reinforced grass platforms provides passive amenity whilst large-scale broad leaf trees provide enclosure and seasonal response.

Project Gallery: