​More than just hot air: ALE transport 75-metre long Siemens wind turbine blade, for use as part of the Hull UK City of Culture programme

​More than just hot air: ALE transport 75-metre long Siemens wind turbine blade, for use as part of the Hull UK City of Culture programme

ALE transported the wind blade under the cover of darkness on SPMTs and bolsters from Siemens’ production facility, 3.5 miles away, through winding city streets to Queen Victoria Square.
Once in position, it was mounted on specially-constructed supports. At the highest point it is 5.5m from the ground – allowing double-decker buses to pass under the tip of the blade. It is believed to be the first time such a huge industrial structure has been manoeuvred into a city centre to be displayed as a temporary art installation.

The installation is part of its contribution to the cultural and artistic programme. This was instrumental for the artwork, ‘Blade’ by multi-media artist Nayan Kulkarni, who reinterpreted the 75m long wind turbine blade as a monumental sculpture installed across the historic Queen Victoria Square.

This jaw-dropping contemporary art installation is the first artwork in Look Up, a year-long series of artist interventions in public spaces commissioned by Hull UK City of Culture 2017, which aim to make people look at and experience the city in new ways.

The artist, Nayan Kulkarni, said: “By declaring the blade to be a work of art, we’re changing it. It’s no longer a functional object – it does other things and has different values. As both a turbine blade and a ready-made sculptural work of art it is beautiful.

“I think the project is extraordinary. It’s an astonishing challenge to move something of this size into the city centre.”

The blade was applauded into the city centre by a welcoming party of 200 workers from the Siemens factory, reflecting the pride of the workforce that the product they create will be seen by tens of thousands of local people and visitors to the city.

Siemens UK Chief Executive Juergen Maier said: “We’re hugely excited to have worked with Nayan Kulkarni and the City of Culture team on this dramatic, unique installation.

“This collaboration reflects our desire to make a positive impact as a Hull UK City of Culture 2017 Major Partner. ‘Blade’ brings to life the engineering and manufacturing excellence of which we are so proud and makes it tangible for the people of Hull and visitors to the city.”

Moving and installing the blade has involved over a year of planning, also involving Hull City Council, project consulting engineers Arup and the Police.

Dave Smith, ALE Projects Operational Manager, said: “This was a unique challenge. We have never before moved a structure of this size into a city centre along such narrow streets.

“We’re delighted to have been entrusted by Siemens to take the blade on its journey into the city centre and to have lifted it into position where it will take pride of place during the City of Culture celebrations.”

The blade will remain in Queen Victoria Square until 18 March.

ALE are currently working on a four-year Crane Framework Agreement for Siemens for the supply and deployment of cranes, specialised transport equipment and personnel at Siemens’ new offshore wind facilities in Hull.

About ALE

ALE delivers strategic heavy-lift services to a wide range of sectors, including civil, oil and gas, energy, nuclear, offshore, renewables, petrochemical, ports, marine, minerals and metals and mining.

It has more than 30 offices across Europe, the Far East, Africa, America, South America, the Middle East and Australia and is fully compliant with international standards of safety and excellence, including Quality standard ISO 9001:2008, Environmental standard ISO 14001:2004, and Health and Safety Standard OHSAS 18001:2007.

Picture Credit: Siemens/Sean Spencer, Hull News & Pictures.