Oddball street furniture gets cool reception from Pontypool shoppers
11:04am Friday 1st March 2013 in News
THEY are multi-coloured, shaped like half an egg and a bit of a mystery to shoppers – and they have appeared in the centre of Pontypool.
Despite the fact townsfolk think they may be a new set of street lights, or the bottom halves of Subbuteo figures, they are, in fact, artworks which are supposed to be seats.
They were installed in Pontypool last week as part of a major regeneration programme, but residents are unsure what to make of them.
The project, named Pontypool Patterns and inspired by the town’s famous Japanned tinware, is by artist Stephen Broadbent, who was commissioned by Torfaen council. He calls them “sculptural seats”, “vessel-like”, and “incidental, not in your face”.
The £30,000 work is part of the Pontypool Settlement Area (PSA) project that will see more than £10m spent on regenerating the town centre and surrounding areas.
The five new pieces of artwork each has a theme displayed on the surface to represent Pontypool and they also act as a form of seating in George Street.
The themes are rugby, the indoor market, industry, the environment, and one developed from the patterns produced by West Mon pupils.
But they have left shoppers a little perplexed. Leanne James, 36, who lives in Pontypool, said: “The designs do try to represent Pontypool, I guess, but I thought they were a new kind of light.”
Her father, Geoffrey James, 60, who is disabled, said: “They are a waste of money.
“The money should have been spent on something better.”
Joanne Nicholas, 47, from Abersychan, said: “It’s nice to see something different.
They’re certainly quirky but there doesn’t seem much point spending the money when shops are closing.”
Eunice Wagstaff, 81, who was born in George Street, said: “I’m disgusted by them.
It was bad enough when the monstrosities were put on the roundabouts.”
Annette Vaughan, 40, from Pontnewynydd, said: “They’re very cold as seats and will probably end up being vandalised.”
Nicola Jane, 32, who lives in Osborne Road, Pontypool, said: “Children won’t understand the meaning behind the themes. They could have been more interactive and would have been good fun for kids as a puzzle.”
Ivor Forward, 55, from Pontypool, said: “They’re unusual-looking.” His wife, Claire, 30, added: “They’re a bit strange but they do look nice.”
Community was involved in choice
CLLR Lewis Jones, vice chairman of Pontypool Regeneration Partnership, said: “There has been a lot of community involvement leading up to the installation of this artwork. I would like to congratulate everyone for the work they have put in.”
The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Welsh Government’s Targeted Match Fund and Heads of the Valleys Programme, Pontypool Regeneration Partnership, Bron Afon, Cadw, Heritage Lottery Fund, SEWTA and Torfaen County Borough Council.