It’s an ambitious proposal to create a major new piece of public art and a ‘Gateway to the North’ in the heart of Sheffield City Region.
And now the proposed “Onwards & Upwards” artwork by Alex Chinneck, featuring a trail of sculptural chimneys, is set to be showcased at MIPIM – the annual real estate event that takes place in Cannes, France.
Mr Chinneck will join the private and public sector delegation from Sheffield City Region (SCR) for the event, taking place from 13 to 16 March. He will speak to potential investors and delegates from around the world about how Onwards & Upwards will transform the Don Valley corridor, linking Sheffield and Rotherham, into a cultural destination.
This comes after SCR’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) selected Onwards & Upwards project from a shortlist of four, to go forward for consideration by the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund (NCRF).
That decision opened up the possibility of between £3m and £4m investment in the scheme, maximising its potential as a catalyst for major regeneration and transformation of the Don Valley waterways.
Sir Nigel Knowles, chairman of the LEP, said: “MIPIM is our opportunity to showcase Sheffield City Region’s excellence in innovation, super-connected economy and great quality of life to the world.
“So how better to illustrate this than by bringing Alex along with our delegation, to demonstrate his vision for the Onwards & Upwards project. Chimneys symbolise industry and these ‘reimagined’ chimneys communicate our towering ambition, resilience and talent for reinvention.
“Together, we propose to create a new cultural destination for Sheffield City Region and the UK: an immersive encounter with art, industry, history and nature.”
Inspired by the dozens of chimneys that once populated Tinsley’s skyline, Onwards & Upwards is a scalable artwork of up to five sculptural chimneys that border, bridge and illuminate the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal.
These towering symbols of industry, re-imagined by Mr Chinneck, promise to test the limits of modern design, engineering and manufacturing, and provide a showcase for the capabilities of SCR’s collaborative public-private partnership.
With a combined height of 152 metres, the chimneys will be spectacular cultural beacons drawing people and investment to the City Region, and promoting greater use of the waterway for health, recreation and commuting.
Planned public realm works will improve access to the site from multiple entry points in both Sheffield and Rotherham, and enhance its tourism potential. Further plans include the provision of picnic areas and flexible, outdoor event space, plus a seasonal visitor hub, designed by the artist.
The location and nature of the artwork means that it can be glimpsed from the motorway or train but only seen and experienced fully as part of a longer visit.
Mr Chinneck said: “Onwards & Upwards is inspired by the industrial heritage of Tinsley and the wider City Region, but the real discovery for me has been the area’s continued strength in terms of manufacturing and innovation; the world-class companies and facilities right on the project’s doorstop that make its ambitious realisation possible.”
The project is backed by partners including Sheffield City Council and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Sheffield City Region, Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, the Canal & River Trust, British Land, E.ON and Yorkshire Water.
This year’s MIPIM event runs from Tuesday 13 March to Friday 16 March, and is set to welcome more than 24,000 participants from 100 countries.
Sheffield City Region’s delegation will include representatives from both the public sector and private sector organisations, including Harworth Group PLC, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Trebbi, Kier Construction Northern, Scarborough Group International, Sheffield Hallam University, JF Finnegan, Whittam Cox Architects, HLM Architects, Coda Planning, Turner and Townsend, CMS, Engie and Bond Bryan Architects.
A range of events organised by the Sheffield City Region delegation will take place throughout MIPIM, including a lunch dedicated to the Onwards & Upwards project.
Find out more about the SCR programme of events at MIPIM, and sign up on Eventbrite, here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/sheffield-city-region-13711289846
Keep up to date with all the latest news on Sheffield City Region at MIPIM by following @SCRmipim on Twitter.