23 September 2015
Corporate News

The art of steel – from ore to pylon

Tata Steel is again helping to change the London skyline supplying steel for a 35m landmark installation to mark this year’s London Design Festival.

The company has supplied 15 tonnes of steel to allow renowned artist Alex Chinneck to realise his latest vision – A Bullet from a Shooting Star. 

Built on the Greenwich Peninsula the project continues the artist’s idea of taking everyday structures and literally turning them on their heads. In this case, the 35m structure requires piles some 19m deep in order to perform the balancing act.

Thousands of tonnes of Tata Steel products have already been specified by architects and builders shaping the capital with iconic structures like the Shard, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Leadenhall Street Cheesegrater building. While below ground, safety-critical Tata Steel rail is being used on the Crossrail project – Europe’s largest civil engineering project.

And while Tata Steel created the steel and supplied the parts for this landmark project, it also offered the artist the chance to actually see how iron ore, coal and lime are turned into the world’s most recyclable material – steel – at its Scunthorpe site in North Lincolnshire.

Following the visit Alex said: “It was absolutely incredible. Without question the best industrial experience of my life.

“Personally and creatively it was utterly fantastic.”

The team behind the structure have put together a film, charting its journey from steelmaking at Scunthorpe, through fabrication and installation on the Greenwich Peninsula.

Watch the video here

Tata Steel’s Rotherham Metal Centre managed the complexity of the project, the dimensions of which are:

  • 524 individual parts
  • 10 different section sizes and two different steel grades
  • 108 different lengths, from just 311mm to 12.75m
  • Smallest part is just 1kg, but the largest part is 293kg

The structure was then put together in 15 discrete phases, before making the journey from the Wakefield fabricators to London for final assembly.

Rodney Rice, Tata Steel’s Distribution Marketing Manager, said: “We are very proud to have had the opportunity to help create this iconic structure.

“Steel is the natural choice for a project like this and the fact the artist got involved in every stage of its manufacture has allowed him to understand exactly how Tata Steel creates the steel not just for art, but for every facet of our modern life.”

The Bullet from a Shooting Star will remain on the Greenwich Peninsula until at least next year, when it is expected the land on which it stands will be developed for housing. It will then be taken down and the steel recycled.


For further information: Damien Brook on T. +44 (0)1724 405786 or damien.brook@tatasteel.com

About Tata Steel’s European operations

Tata Steel is Europe's second largest steel producer, with steelmaking in the UK and Netherlands, and manufacturing plants across Europe. The company supplies high-quality steel products to the most demanding markets, including construction, automotive, packaging, rail, lifting & excavating, energy and aerospace. Tata Steel works with customers to develop new steel products that give them a competitive edge. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the world’s largest steel producers, with a steel capacity of nearly 30 million tonnes and 80,000 employees across five continents.