Ex-platform for an oil rig becomes a hanging garden in art project


A decommissioned North Sea platform has arrived at Weston-super-Mare where it will be transformed into a public art piece. As the oil rig becomes a hanging garden, the aim is to create conversations about sustainability.

See Monster was transported on a flatbed barge from the Netherlands. It’s 35m tall and will feature four levels with a waterfall, a 6,000-piece kinetic installation to make the monster’s shimmering scales, an onboard green oasis and a seated amphitheatre and broadcast studio.

Patrick O’Mahony, from Newsubstance (the company behind the project) says: “It’s like a rehabilitation.”

O’Mahony told the PA news agency the idea was to find a platform “to tell stories with”.

“What better platform than a decommissioned oil rig?

“The whole point was to create a structure that was big, joyful, and create a real impact – and that’s what See Monster gave us the opportunity to do.

“It will have experiments in renewable futures – so new thinking in wind turbines and solar, a giant waterfall that comes down the front, and a huge amount of kinetic sculptures across the entire structure.”

The rig spent 30 years in the North Sea and the last 12 months in a Dutch shipyard being stripped, cleaned and repaired ahead of its delivery to Weston-super-Mare.

“We didn’t want to build from new, we wanted to really explore reused (materials),” says O’Mahony.

“There are these big industrial structures all around the world, the rigs are just one of them, and we wanted to really create that blueprint to see what’s possible – we are taking these beasts that have had one life form and transforming them into something new.

“We wanted to bring it in almost as the beast and transform it into a beauty, and when it comes in and gets raised and put on the legs, over the next six to eight weeks we are going to plant a huge wild garden over the whole top.

“The point is that it is like it has been ‘rehabilitated’ – it has spent its life taking out of the earth and now it is time to give back.”

As the oil rig becomes a hanging garden, it will be fully open for two months between the beginning of August and the end of October, says The Independent.

After it closes, many of the artworks are due to be installed around the town, while the rig itself will be deconstructed and recycled.

Main image courtesy of unboxed2022. Other images courtesy of See Monster UK

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