Thomas Heatherwick Studio says its priority is to reopen its B of the Bang public sculpture, following the news that Manchester City Council is suing the designer for negligence and breach of contract.
The tallest sculpture in Britain, the £1.4m artwork was built to commemorate the 2002 Commonwealth Games. However, it was closed within weeks of its delayed launch in 2005, at Eastlands in Manchester, after being declared unsafe.
Since its unveiling, the 56m sculpture has had up to 11 of its 180 spikes removed, due to worries about its stability. Manchester council is suing Heatherwick and its three sub-contractors for £2m, according to reports.
‘B of the Bang is a very important project for us and one we want Manchester to be proud of,’ the studio said in a statement. ‘Our priority is to open the sculpture for the public to enjoy as soon as possible and we hope this action leads to a positive resolution for the project and for Manchester.’
Heatherwick, who studied 3D design at Manchester Metropolitan University, is celebrated for his experimental, gravity-defying constructions.
The studio admits that, ‘The finished structure has not been without problems.’
Council chief executive Howard Bernstein told local press that lengthy negotiations with Heatherwick and the other contractors had failed to resolve the defects in the structure.
‘I want to emphasise the council’s commitment to securing a structurally sound and viable B of the Bang on this site,’ said Bernstein. ‘We want a lasting memorial to the games, and we want an iconic structure that… contributes to the ongoing revival of east Manchester.
‘As a public body with financial responsibilities, we have absolutely no alternative but to commence legal proceedings.’
The case is expected to be heard before the High Court next year.