Thomas Heatherwick’s B of the Bang sculpture in Manchester is to be taken down.
Manchester City Council has announced that the 56m-high sculpture, which was erected in 2005, will be dismantled, with some parts – the core and possibly the legs – to be stored for possible use as part of a rebuilt structure.
The council adds that it will not provide funding if the sculpture is rebuilt, either on its present site or elsewhere.
B of the Bang has suffered a troubled existence, and last November Manchester City Council received £1.7m in an out-of-court settlement from Heatherwick and subcontractors Packman Lucas, Flint and Neill Partnership and Westbury Sculptures after beginning legal proceedings for breach of contract and negligence.
The sculpture had been fenced off after one of its spikes fell off and a further nine had to be removed.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, says, ‘Thomas Heatherwick’s B of the Bang is a magnificent artistic statement that was just right for modern Manchester. It is regrettable that technical problems have undermined that artistic vision.
‘And so, after taking into account expert views, the only practical alternative is to take the sculpture down.’
He adds, ‘We have committed ourselves to continuing to work with the artist to determine whether there is a robust and affordable strategy for the reconstruction of the sculpture on the site.’
A spokeswoman for Heatherwick says, ‘Obviously our aspiration is for the B of the Bang to be rebuilt. Manchester City Council has always been very vocal about its support for the sculpture, and we are reassured and encouraged by that.’