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Watermark

Docks Pumping Station Cardiff Bay

Cardiff  1996

The Cardiff Art Bays Trust's involvement with the Docks Pumping Station could have progressed very differently. The initial approach made to the trust was to produce metal railings for castellated boundary wall. In discussions, however, it became clear that we were uniquely placed, with background knowledge of adjacent planned developments, to influence the nature of the Pump Station site. A large area of land earmarked for leisure and retail use lies to the north of the site, and to the south its location for the proposed Cardiff Bat Opera House. In the future, visitors to the Inner Harbour area of Cardiff Bay could use a route through the Opera House area to the retail and leisure complex. This pedestrian route would have been impeded if an impermeable boundary around the Docks Pumping Station had been adopted. In planning the brief with client body, it was noted that the surrounding buildings, once developed, would overlook the Pumping Station site. We therefore concluded that an artist's involvement was necessary in the design of both the paved area and the boundary.

The Brief to artists did not preclude a collaborative approach. and we were therefore delighted when Charles Quick and Alan Rogers were appointed jointly to the team.

Having lived with the project for some two years, it is difficult to step away from it and consider the results. Guy Julier's writing will cast a fresh eye on the scheme and , of course, the views of the artists will also be different to those of the initial facilitators. the bold almost stark industrially inspired forms which define the boundary to the site will allow pedestrian access whilst denying that of unauthorised vehicles. Charles Quick's response to the brief is entirely in keeping with the functionality of the building, and the use of steel, industrially fabricated, as an appropriateness to the site. the massive forms of the Allied Steel & Wire works, some short distance away, give a visual link to industry. That the artworks were produced locally is testament to the skills of the metal works still available.

An extract from the introduction to the Watermark publication 

Stephen Pettet-Smith, Commissions Officer Cardiff Bay Arts Trust February 1996

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