By Amy MacDonnell on 09 August 2017
A new, permanent location has been proposed for a Siemens Gamesa wind turbine blade that became a public sensation when it was installed in the centre of the UK City of Culture.
A planning application has been submitted to locate the 75m blade in a prominent position at the entrance to the Siemens Gamesa site in Hull, UK.
Approval for the plans would mean members of the public will once again be able to see the impressive feat of engineering that became one of the highlights of Hull’s continuing year as the UK’s cultural capital.
The blade was one of the first manufactured at the Siemens Gamesa factory at Alexandra Dock in Hull, which opened in December 2016. In January multi-media artist Nayan Kulkarni transformed the 28-tonnes structure into a jaw-dropping monumental sculpture, “Blade”, installed across Queen Victoria Square in the heart of Hull as one of the highlights of Hull UK City of Culture 2017’s “Made in Hull” opening season.
The blade was transported three and a half miles from the factory under the cover of darkness for the surprise installation – the first time such a huge industrial structure had been manoeuvred into a city centre to be displayed as a temporary work of art.
During the 10 weeks in which it dominated the city centre, the installation was seen by 1.1m people, including more than 420,000 people who interacted with it.
Blade made headlines around the world and was a huge social media hit, with residents and visitors to the city posting thousands of pictures and selfies.
The blade was returned to Siemens Gamesa’s Hull site while plans were considered for its future use. Now the proposed new location has been revealed.
Jason Speedy, Siemens Gamesa’s Hull Blade Factory Director, said: “We considered various locations on our Hull site for the blade and we have chosen this one because it will ensure it is seen by as many people as possible.
“It will be clearly visible to all visitors to the factory, partially visible from the A63/Hedon Road which passes the site, and will be positioned just yards from the public right of way which runs around Alexandra Dock, so people using the footpath will see it up close.
“Having previously been interpreted as an art installation, it is now proposed the blade will be a landmark for the Siemens Gamesa factory and a symbol of Hull as a centre of green energy manufacturing, engineering and innovation.”
Senior Project Manager Anthony Granville, who managed the city centre installation for Siemens Gamesa and has overseen the proposed relocation, said: “We’re very aware of how popular the City of Culture installation was, so we intend to present the blade in a similar way.
“We have acquired the mountings that held the blade in place in Queen Victoria Square and they will be used to secure it in its new location. It will also be held at the same degree of rotation as when it was seen in the city centre.
“The entire workforce is so proud of making such an amazing product and we’ll all be delighted to see the most famous blade made in Hull back in the public eye.”
Global wind power leader Siemens Gamesa has developed world-scale and world-class wind power manufacturing, assembly and logistics operations at the Hull site, where more than 1,000 people are now employed. The company is a Major Partner of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and the Blade installation was part of its contribution to the cultural and artistic programme.
Martin Green, Chief Executive of Hull 2017, said: “With the support of our Major Partner Siemens, Nayan Kulkarni's Blade helped kick off Hull UK City of Culture 2017 in spectacular style. The incredible journey from the factory to Hull city centre and its streamlined elegance as it resided in Queen Victoria Square is etched in the memory.
“We're therefore delighted that it is proposed to be permanently installed so that people visiting or passing the Siemens Gamesa factory at Alexandra Dock can see it for years to come.”
Councillor Martin Mancey, Hull City Council Portfolio Holder for Economic Investment, Regeneration and Planning, said: “Siemens’ decision to build the blade factory in Hull marked the commencement of the transformation of the city’s economy and the image and reputation of Hull as The Energy City – a great place to live, work and invest.
“This turbine blade is a symbol of the importance of Siemens’ presence in the city and will also be a reminder of the remarkable success of City of Culture 2017.”