Workington Wonder

Ground-breaking casting and fabrication techniques have been used in the creation of a major artwork which forms the central focus of a new town square in Workington. The grand scale work, by sculptor Simon Hitchens, required pioneering development work between the artist and Bentley Chemicals.

The work was officially unveiled in April, inspired by the local Cumbrian landscape, it features a tall slender landmark sculpture made from Crystal Clear resin in between two slabs of red granite; paving for the entire town square area, in flame finished granite, forming a large map of the West coast of Cumbria; small blue single LED lights that animate the ‘coastline’ feature of the paving, and twelve dramatic seats made from granite boulders which are left rough on one side and polished smooth on the other. Granite & Resin Landmark SculptureCrystal Clear resin blocks with integral fibre optic lighting are bonded to the underside of a number of these seats. Text inspired by the history and dialects of Cumbria has also been cut into the surface of the pavers.

Bentley Chemicals worked closely with Hitchens in helping him achieve the ambitious work, not only supplying moulding rubbers and a range of specialised resins, but also working onsite in helping to develop new techniques in processing. The work features “Crystal Clear” 207 and “Clear Flex” Grade 50 casting resins as well as moulds made from RTV 3040 platinum cured silicone rubber. “Simon’s work has pushed out performance boundaries and tested us in the past,” commented Peter Turnock, from Bentley, “Getting 1.2 tonnes of clear resin to successfully marry onto rough granite was interesting. Nothing quite like this has ever been done before. Workington was a challenge that we relished – the result is stunning.”

“The Cumbrian coastline, Workington’s proud history in steel and ship-building, the River Derwent and the dramatic topography of the Cumbrian landscape are the central inspirations for this scheme,” added Simon Hitchens, “my aim is to offer a whole new visual experience as well a beautiful new public space for the residents of Workington.”

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