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Eastbourne beachfront contest winner announced

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Emerging outfit George King Architects has won a competition to design a £20,000 sculpture for Eastbourne


The London-based practice was chosen from shortlist of four entries to design the structure which reflects on the 2014 Eastbourne Pier fire when a blaze ripped through the Grade II*-listed structure. 

The twisting sculpture entitled ‘Forged by Flame’ is constructed from 20,000 damaged two pence coins that were reclaimed from the ashes of the fire. 

The full shortlist 

  • Phoenix Vane by Sue McDougal and Caroline Pick
  • Forged by Flame by George King Architects
  • Gulls by Cynthia de Wolf
  • Time and Tide Bell by Marcus Vergette 

The £20,000 scuplture is set to be funded as part of a £2 million grant pledged by former prime minister David Cameron when he visited the seaside town shortly after the pier fire. 

According to the practice, which was also shortlisted for the Eastbourne beach huts contest earlier this year,  the art piece is ‘intended as a symbol of renewal for the pier and the town, its community and visitors’. 

The sculpture will be installed on the seafront in 2017. 

Forged by Flame by George King Architects

Forged by Flame by George King Architects

Architect’s view 

The sculpture’s strong silhouette and significant height will make it a recognisable landmark and a focal point on the beach for meeting and gathering. At night, lights mounted within the concrete base will illuminate the sculpture from within. The light will reflect off the copper coins through the gaps in their construction to create a dynamic, flickering glow, transforming the sculpture into a beacon that will be visible across the length of the seafront. 

The sculpture is constructed from six identical components that are radially arrayed around a central point. Each component consists of a skin made from 2p coins and a rib structure made from reclaimed steel from the pier. To create the skin a timber mould is formed which is a negative of the skin geometry. The coins are placed on the mould one by one and welded to their neighbour. This process is repeated to create six identical prefabricated components which will then be brought to site, fixed together and cast into a concrete base.

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