Spring Arts Centre

Commissioned to signpost the entry to Havant town and create an inspirational space for people to relax outside the Arts Centre.

Central ‘dancer’ sculpture and seating; Fin Back Chairs, Slither Bench, Whale Table and Bench.

Client: Havant Council

Materials: Steel, stainless steel, bronze resin, recycled plastic, marble resin, recycled glass in resin, LED lighting.

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Installation for Hampshire County Council

The brief was to create an inspirational place for people to sit with a central sculpture and external furniture and lighting.  Also to be a 'signpost' announcement as you enter Havant town.

The space was a cold, stark throughfare that served only as a brick-encompassed cavern for a lonely picnic table.  I needed to humanise the space and introduce an air of wonder and tranquility, creating a place to rest and contemplate, despite being surrounded by brick wall and floor and being next to the main road into Havant. I worked closely with the arts centre staff, Hampshire County Council and the Portsmouth Architecture Foundation.  After a public open consultation and workshop day, the dreams of all who would use the space were logged and used to create a large scale model.  This process allowed the work to reflect the needs of the art centre, its café, Havant town and its community.

Two years later, I have been told all involved are still thrilled and enchanted by the new courtyard, which has a magical feel, especially at night with the gentle up-lighting. 

Ground works involved relaying paving, removing walls and existing plinths, introducing the sculptural works, new planting and grass hillocks. All work was designed, made and installed by myself and I oversaw all building groundworks.

During the project I carried out a weekend sculpture casting course for those interested in my making process.

The courtyard won The Hampshire Echo, best public art award.

Overview of Approach

1.             Research into the site and local history.

2.             Public consultation day and demonstration, by invite and open to all.

3.             Initial designs and working model.

4.             Further public and closed consultation to assess the relevance and suitability of the work planned.

5.             Manufacture of the finished works and installation including ground works.

6.             Collaboration with dance group and harpist to create a performance of accompanied dance in response to the sculptures and site for the opening night. 


Research day


Local community sculpture workshop


Scale model of proposed Installation                Work on site


Work on site


The dancers from 'Cscape' practising for the opening ceremony with harpist Ruth Wall.


Ben Barrell / +44 7970 872435 / info@benbarrell.co.uk