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Fire destroys Wakefield's international showpiece

Aqua-scape, a sculpture by award-winning Japanese designer and architect Ryumei Fujiki has been burned down while on display at Beam, the Wakefield-based architecture centre

Staff at Beam, the organisation that brought the ‘cocoon-like urban folly’ to Wakefield, were ‘shocked’ to discover the charred remains as they arrived for work at the centre’s Grade II*-listed home, The Orangery. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Inspired by ‘natural forms combined with ancient Japanese crafts’ and modern materials, Aqua-scape had been installed at Beam’s headquarters in the Orangery’s gardens on Back Lane, since June.

The sculpture, which was based on a larger structure showcased in Japan (Architectural Review, 1 December 2006), was created especially for the centre was due to be de-installed and put on tour in October.

Beam executive director Robert Powell said: ‘All of us are devastated at the loss of this extraordinary and beautiful installation.

‘It was the result of many months of work by Ryumei Fujiki and his students from Kogakuin University and Tokyo and we were proud to have premiered it, and hosted them, here in Yorkshire.

‘The artwork and exhibition explored the relationship between nature, art, and architecture and was enjoyed by the hundreds of people who’ve seen it at the Orangery.’

He added: ‘It’s a sad loss.’

The exhibition about the making of Aqua-scape and the ideas behind it remains open to the public at The Orangery, Monday-Friday 9 am–4 pm.

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