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Talk
Phoenix Rising
Thursday 12 November 2020
5.00 to 6.00pm
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A Talk by Tim MacFarlane

This is the story of how a sculpture commissioned in a far-away place during dire economic times came to be known as the Phoenix and represent a rebirth in more ways than one.

The flame fountain sculpture was completed in December 2011 as the centrepiece of a new park situated at the entry to Baku, Azerbaijan when arriving from the airport. The sculpture was designed and constructed by GLaSS with WSAspinall as subcontractors for the stainless steel framework. The form of the 30-metre sculpture is created by 3 tapering spiralling stainless steel legs, triangular in section. It is continually clad on all 3 sides with 75 mm diameter solid crystal glass rods spanning to up 4 meters between the legs.

“Language barriers are often just that; the Phoenix sculpture however proved the exception. Our client the Mayor of Baku didn’t speak English and our Azeri wasn't up to scratch, so we found our conventional role as structural engineer suddenly expanding. During the course of a meeting in which we got ‘lost in translation’ we found ourselves with the added titles of sculptor and contractor. The ensuing journey was interesting, revealing and financially rewarding and gave us a glimpse of what life could be like when the decision making began and ended with ourselves!” Tim MacFarlane