SEE MONSTER was a retired rig from the North Sea, transformed into one of the UK’s largest public art installations to inspire global conversations about reuse, renewables and the great British weather. As a creation of new from old, the regeneration of the rig from its former life championed the role of reuse and creativity within our future.
By the Autumn of 2022, having been transformed along its journey, the weather-beaten monster came alive in The Tropicana, Weston-super-Mare, as a colossal manifestation of all it had witnessed along its journey around the turbulent coast. The reawakened entity was a joyous celebration of the great British weather and British eccentricity, presenting a new vision for what the monster could become. As a pioneer towards a greener future, SEE MONSTER explored the concept of inherited structures, be those physical, social, or environmental. What do we do with the structures we inherit? And what actions can they inspire?
SEE MONSTER was part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK. A once-in-a-lifetime celebration of creativity, that took place across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and online from March to November 2022. As the first decommissioned gas platform in the world to be transformed into a major public art installation, SEE MONSTER attracted a multi-generational audience of half a million to the Tropicana in Weston-super-Mare, from September to November 2022.
Free, accessible and open to all, the 35-metre-tall structure featured four innovatively designed levels, animated by a 10-metre-high waterfall; a slide offering an alternative route through the monster, a kinetic installation forming the monsters’ scales; kinetic wind sculptures; a wild garden of plants and trees; experiments in sustainable energy generation; a seated amphitheatre, and at its base, a broadcast studio.
Taking an existing structure with a previous life and reimagining it as something new was a core narrative thread to the temporary pavilion. The ‘transformation’ of the platform proved highly complex from an engineering perspective; to reconfigure a structure that had been designed for a specific purpose into something completely different presented a whole host of challenges for our team. With a collective across STEAM sectors, we collaborated with Scientists, Technologists, Engineers, Artists and Mathematicians to realise this unimaginable feat of engineering – proving creativity’s role to educate and inspire.
From inception to installation this hugely unique project was one of the most challenging, ambitious and innovative design feats to be undertaken in the UK. A world-first project, SEE MONSTER has sparked global conversations around industrial structures, the potential they have for reuse, and, in turn, created a blueprint for others to follow in the future.