Commissioned by M&G Real Estate, with the developers Bell Hammer, as a landmark sculpture to mark the entrance to their new commercial building Forbury Place in Reading.
Each carved from a solid block of granite originally weighing thirty tonnes, this pair of twisting helical forms stand 5.6 metres tall, the tight geometry of which implies a continuation beyond the tops of the sculptures. They appear to be in a continual state of flux: when moving past them they change dramatically in shape and relationship to each other, which in turn increases the optical effect of convergence and divergence. There is also an uncanny relationship between the pair's inner surfaces which ask to be moved together, to complete a unity or form, a double helix.
These playful helical forms not only define the public space between two architectural structures, but invites our imagination to experience the changing intervals created between these elements and their surfaces: the work is as much about the space between, with the emphasis on interval, as it is the composition as a whole.
This is a site responsive piece of public sculpture, echoing the form of the twisting brise-soleil fins on the gable end of the building, and made from a similar tonal granite that surfaces the public realm surrounding the buildings. The anti-parallel nature of the surfaces and arrises play off the striking digrid structure of the office buildings behind, designed by architects Aukett Fitzroy Robinson. Powerful up lighters at night time bring yet another change to how it is perceived, increasing the shadows and textural contrasts of the surfaces, to create beguiling relationships between these forms in flux.
"The development of Forbury Place in Reading, as a UK headquarters operating from a remarkably well-considered office space, is as good as it gets. As part of the development team we decided to place a significant landmark sculpture in front of the two buildings, marking the main entrance for pedestrians - easily visible from either end of Forbury Road. Because the development of high quality real estate is our business, we were determined to choose a sculptor who could deliver a sensitive and complimentary sculpture to the striking architecture behind it - we found that sculptor in Simon.
From the initial engagement with him, working through a variety of ideas and then integrating those alongside the architect’s own vision, to the month by month unfolding of the project and finally the installation itself, he has been every bit the professional we originally hoped for. His capability in managing the intricacies of such a large project working alongside builders, designers and project managers alike, was without fault. I thank him for delivering every bit of the significant landmark sculpture he promised us two years ago and for taking any of the worries that could present themselves in such a project, away from our daily duties, making the journey an enjoyable and memorable one. I’m convinced that Reading will grow to love this sculpture as much as we do."