Landscape architects behind a £500,000 seafront regeneration project in East Sussex have explained why they turned to Welsh Slate to supply sawn-face boulders forming the scheme’s artistic centrepiece.
Design firm craft:pegg masterminded the ‘cultural makeover’ of Worthing’s Splash Point which has seen the ageing venue transformed to become a focal point of the seaside town’s promenade.
The scheme – part of the borough council’s wider regeneration project for Worthing – has created an outdoor meeting place for residents, tourists and artists. As well as trees, seating and lighting, the rejuvenated Splash Point includes more than 40 Welsh Slate boulders, several of which have been inscribed and sandblasted with intricate designs by craft:pegg and local artists.
The boulders weigh between one and five tonnes and have been scattered across the site around a water feature. They were lowered into position using cranes.
Etchings include a portrait of one-time Worthing resident Oscar Wilde and the Knucker dragon – a mythical creature from West Sussex. A four-tonne, sawn-face boulder made from Welsh Slate has also been installed and engraved to commemorate the lifeboat rescues that have been key to Worthing’s history.
John Pegg, from craft:pegg, said: “The reason for choosing such a beautiful tight grained stone is that very fine detail can be cut into the rock and it will be held there for hundreds of years.
“A lot of competing slate sources we have seen contain iron pyrite, so if we used them outside they would have literally rusted. Welsh Slate is thankfully free from iron pyrite contamination and therefore won’t suffer from this kind of staining.”
Mr Pegg added: “What has been useful is that we have been able to communicate closely with Welsh Slate, allowing us to be extremely specific about the type of cuts we need. There’s no way we could guarantee an overseas supplier would have been able to deal with the level of detail and boulder selection we specified. Welsh slate is such a stable rock and it will preserve the artwork for centuries to come.”
Coping for a section of wall at Splash Point has also been made from Welsh slate, along with two sets of steps and a performance space reinventing Worthing’s historic Speakers Corner.
The investment in Splash Point is a result of a successful bid by Worthing Council’s Regeneration Programme Team for funding from the second wave of the Government’s Sea Change programme.
Andy Carson Architectural Sales Manager Welsh Slate, said: “Architectural work is a relatively new and fast-growing part of our business so Splash Point was an exciting project to be involved in. We are pleased that craft:pegg recognised the importance of durable, high-quality Welsh slate to a project of this nature.”
“When you’re designing a bespoke architectural project like Splash Point you can’t cut corners in terms of visual appearance and quality which is why we came to Welsh Slate.” John Pegg, craft:pegg