A landmark new structure, the largest of its kind in the world, has been unveiled at the Trinity Square development in Gateshead.
Designed by local artist, Steve Newby, the work called ‘Halo’ is a stunning gravity-defying spectacle stretching 27-foot in the form of a loop, which by night will be illuminated by colour-changing fibre-optic lights.
The sculpture is a fitting link to the town’s steel heritage and symbol of its post-industrial renewal, as Gateshead celebrates what is believed to be the UK’s biggest mixed-use town centre regeneration project outside London in recent years.
Hailed as the world’s largest structure made from inflated stainless steel, Halo is constructed entirely using the award-winning artist’s own unique method. Stainless steel is shaped by inflating and blowing, creating curves in reflective surfaces, which then appear kinetic and fluid. It is made up of around 330 individual inflated sections, linked together to form a spectacular 27-foot ring of billowing curves.
The iconic structure is tilted on a 66 degrees angle, magnificently soaring outward and overhead and promising an inspiring and unique experience to visitors of Gateshead.
Artist and sculptor, Steve Newby said: “I am absolutely delighted to see my concept become a reality. It has been some years in planning, engineering and design. Technologically it’s moving the boundaries of this technique and its prominent gravity-defying character will, I hope, really add exhilaration to the overall development.”
Local talent has been central to the entire creation of the large-scale project. Halo was constructed by a team of highly skilled engineers at the Ryton-based Impress Group, turning Newby’s pioneering idea into reality. Newcastle University carried out a programme of physical testing and simulations using architecture software, while the patent for the technology to make its individual sections was also developed in Gateshead.
Newby added: “It was really important to me that the construction took place here in Gateshead - it already feels like it is being born here and belongs here. This entire project is down to the work of skilled Gateshead craftsmen and it has set new standards in this particular field of engineering, which is a testament to the wonders we can do in this area.”
The new sculpture will sit alongside a multi-screen cinema, bars, restaurants and retail outlets at Gateshead’s flagship £150m Trinity Square development.
On welcoming the artwork to Trinity Square, leader of Gateshead Council, Mick Henry said: “This really is a stunning piece, made possible thanks to the innovation and skills of Tyneside people.
“Trinity Square is an important development for the future of Gateshead so we felt it was vital to see our tradition of embracing high-quality public art continued. Steve has done a great job of creating something that will be instantly recognisable and really striking.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how the stainless steel looks at different times of the year as it reflects the world around it.”
Tony Pickering, Trinity Square Centre Manager said: “It’s wonderful to see such a landmark structure take pride of place in the Trinity Square development. Trinity Square has been a hugely successful regeneration project for the town, it has breathed new life into the area and Halo perfectly embodies what Gateshead and its people stand for.”
bmi regional, the UK’s most punctual airline, is getting ready to take off ahead of the launch of its new jet service to Brussels, which starts on 3 March.
The route, a welcome addition to Newcastle Airport’s list of destinations, will bring a double-daily service which will be the only direct flight linking Newcastle and Brussels.
Cathal O’Connell, CEO at bmi regional, said: “This is our first route from Newcastle International and we’re delighted to provide the only direct flight for travellers from the North East of England to the Belgian capital.”
Dave Laws, chief executive at Newcastle International Airport, said: “The new route is already proving popular with both leisure and business passengers. Belgium is an interesting country to visit with much to see and do. There is far more to Belgium than just delicious chocolate and great beers.”
As well as thousands of North East travellers heading to Belgium the service will also create a positive impact for the regional economy through inbound tourism.
Sarah Stewart, chief executive of destination management and marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said; “The growing number of airlines choosing Newcastle International Airport signals a real confidence both in the airport and the destination. bmi regional’s new Brussels flight is positive news for the tourism sector and the business community.
“NewcastleGateshead and the wider region remains an attractive destination for city break visitors and those interested in doing business here. bmi regional’s new double daily service will gather a lot of support from businesses here in the North East and in Belgium."
“It’s extremely encouraging to welcome a new airline and a brand new route that will continue growth in inbound tourism in NewcastleGateshead and the North East.”
bmi regional offers a full in-flight service including complimentary food and drinks onboard, in addition to 20kg of checked baggage per person and 30 minute check-in at both airports.
An area of Newcastle’s Quayside is set to be transformed into a cultural hub as Live Theatre unveils plans for £10m capital development scheme.
Live Theatre has purchased the last remaining prime Quayside plot of land and buildings alongside the theatre and plan to create new commercial office space, a new public park and a children and young people’s writing centre.
Liveworks will create a new landmark building on Newcastle’s Quayside with approximately 1500sqm net of highly desirable premium office space with river views, providing new commercial opportunities and visibility on the busy Quayside thoroughfare for Live Theatre.
A landscaped green space, a new pocket park at the centre of the site with public pedestrian access from the Quayside and a public and performance space managed and programmed by Live Theatre in daily use by tenants, neighbours and the public will transform this part of the Quayside. Refurbishment of the Grade II listed Almshouse into a new children and young people’s writing centre will provide a much-needed place for aspiring young authors to develop their creative talent.
Once complete, LiveWorks will create new revenue streams for the core creative and educational work of Live Theatre, building resilience for the Theatre for the future, and transform this part of the Quayside.
The purchase of the land and buildings and the development of the site have been supported by a prudential loan of £6m from Newcastle City Council and a £1.73m grant confirmed from the North East European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme 2007 to 2013. £8m has already been secured to allow Live Theatre to purchase the land and buildings next to the theatre and for the development of additional office space on the Quayside, with other statutory and private sector fundraising being sought.
Jim Beirne, chief executive, Live Theatre said: “We are delighted that the support from ERDF and Newcastle City Council has allowed us to purchase the site for LiveWorks. We are excited to move the project into the next phase of design and build. And having just completed a wonderful 40th anniversary year, we are even more excited at the prospect of the thousands of artists, children and young people that will enjoy all these opportunities for the next 40 years.”
Paul Callaghan, chair, Live Theatre and chair of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, added: "This wonderful project is not just significant for Live Theatre but also for Newcastle and Gateshead as a whole. It will be an amazing place for people of all ages, but particularly for children and young people. This key site has stood empty for too long and we are delighted that we are going to be able to transform it into something so special."