Iconic 18 Metre Sculpture marks Derby ihub Milestone

The construction of Derby’s ihub reached a significant milestone in its multi-million pound development yesterday (19 Aug) as a landmark piece of artwork was installed on site.

The unique two-blade sculpture stands over 18 metres above the ground after being erected at Infinity Park, a new 200-acre hub for commercial and technology businesses, during an event to celebrate the project’s progress to date.

Once complete, the £11.8 million ihub will bring hi-tech engineering firms and academic experts together to offer innovation and mentoring support to aerospace, automotive and transport industries demonstrating the region’s position as the UK’s centre for transport engineering.

Councillor Martin Rawson, deputy leader of Derby City Council said: “I’m delighted to finally see this magnificent sculpture arrive at site. Its installation is significant to the ethos of the ihub’s design. The design represents two elongated jet blades twisting together to symbolise the union of office and workshop space.”

Local contractor, G F Tomlinson is responsible for the construction of the landmark building and its iconic sculpture.

Barry Sewards, chairman for G F Tomlinson said: “We’ve reached a key milestone in the construction work of Derby’s ihub and we’re delighted work has been progressing so well. The sculpture is representative of the industries that will be based at the hub and as a firm based in Derby we’re proud to be working on such a pioneering project that will have such an impact on industry and the local economy.”

Franklin Ellis Architects designed the building and its breathtaking centre piece which was created by Chris Brammall Ltd, specialist sculptural and architectural metalwork company.

Chris Brammall, artist and designer said the sculpture took seven months and a team of four people to complete.

“It’s been a pleasure and a challenge to deliver such a powerful design which represents the future of engineering for aeroplanes, turbines and construction,” he said.

“Engineering is the essence of what we do so when we were approached by G F Tomlinson to create the two twisting blade sculpture we were honoured to be part of this innovative project. It’s one of the biggest projects we have worked on; made from stainless steel and finished to a bright reflective polish it’s fantastic to see it on site and part of the ihub.”

Andy Dowding, senior architect from Franklin Ellis Architects said: “We believe the sculpture really captures the spirit of innovation and identifies with the work of planes, trains and automobiles – which will be at the heart of the centre once complete. To have designed such a signature building with the eye-catching centre piece is something we’re really proud of.”

Margaret Bruce, deputy vice-chancellor from the University of Derby said: “The new facility will allow incubator companies to form and grow and already established companies to access some of the very latest technologies, academic expertise and best practice from around the world. The university will also provide skilled graduates and access to funding for Innovation, Research and Development.”

The artwork was an intrinsic element of the building design procured through a design competition. It is funded by the Regional Growth Fund and EU funding. The ihub will be completed in autumn.