Innovative sculptor uses new process from Nova Metals to point the way to shoppers

A tensioned mesh of 1.5mm gauge, perforated, 304 stainless steel and innovative has been supplied by Nova Metals of Worsley, Manchester, for Mel Chantrey’s “Arbor”, a stunning, triangular, lattice-work sculpture on three legs which now dominates Exchange Square in the centre of the same city. This artistic masterpiece highlights the main entrance to the Triangle, a state-of-the-art shopping mall retaining the Grade 2 listed fabric from its hundred years as the Corn Exchange Building.

Originally designed in 1903 to handle regional trading in agricultural produce, the vast, tiered hall and central glass dome of the Manchester Corn Exchange, having previously recovered from damage in World War II, were totally renovated and reopened as the Triangle after the devastating IRA bomb blast of 15th June 1996. That explosion injured over 200 people and necessitated the reconstruction of up to 50,000 sq m of retail space and 25,000 sq m of office space.

Combining delicacy and structural strength, the intricately perforated artwork by Mel Chantrey is 10.5m high by 9.5m wide and encloses a slender and graceful, cone-shaped, 13.5m tall silver birch, betula pendula. Piling goes down to a depth of 8m to bedrock to support the three legs.

Milligan Retail Resorts International commissioned the “Arbor” sculpture, which was assembled from Mel Chantrey’s maquette and constructed in a 12-week programme by Midas Technologies of Peterborough. Mr Chantrey has been working out of his studio at Prestwich, Greater Manchester, for over 30 years.