Bottle Knot sculpture at Hunger Hill in Poole.

This public artwork by Michael Condron is inspired by the "Newfoundland Bottle Knot" in celebration of Poole's historic maritime trade.

Curved stainless steel strips arch out of the ground to form the coils of a knotted rope. Metal rope patterns continue across the floor, linking the sculpture arches and completing the knot.


At dusk the sculpture is internally illuminated in shades of blue, with light spilling through gaps in the metalwork strips.

The gaps widen as the sculpture coils upwards allowing more light to escape, making the colour more vivid and creating a prominent landmark from a distance. Up close, blue light reflecting off the polished surfaces creates a spectacular effect.




It took just one day to erect the structure, but two weeks to bolt on all the cladding sections!   Installation was completed in March 2022.



Fabrication began with the structural core, formed of curved tubes which approximate the form of the sculpture. Short eye-dowels were welded at intervals along the sculpture according to the geometry of the coiling "rope" surface. Rods were then threaded through the eye-dowels around and along the sculpture to form guidelines and edges for the double-helical metalwork cladding.

The surface was made with thousands of overlapping strips, with gaps to allow the light from the internal LEDs to spill out. Wider gaps at the top mean the sculpture gradually becomes brighter from the ground up. The lapping of these strips was very complicated - tiny adjustments to the length, angle, overlapping or gap size made an accumulative difference to how much the "rope" bulged or flattened. Each cladding section is fixed in place with support rods that radiate from the structural core, hedgehog-style.

The scale of the sculpture meant it was worked on horizontally, with only about a quarter of the artwork ever assembled at one time. As each section was completed, the cladding pieces were detached, buffed, then sent off for electropolishing. Temporary struts were fabricated to allow the sculpture sections to be wheeled about, lifted and transported without damaging the surface. Finally, the LED lighting was added to the stuctural core and the polished cladding sections reattached ready for installation.



Michael worked with many local groups, schools, organizations and individuals to develop initial ideas. Sessions were themed on local heritage and ranged from discussions to larger-than-life plaster sculpting. A huge amount of artwork was produced which helped inform the design of the gateway sculptures.

With thanks to all who contributed.


Arts University Bournemouth: Discussions with staff and students.

Birds of Poole Harbour: Hosted drop-in "plumage" art workshops open to the public.

Bournemouth & Poole College: Large scale plaster/scrim sculpting.

Carter Community College: Large-scale card sculpting.

Montacute School: LED willow/collage sculptures.

"Fresh Talent" group at Poole Printmakers: Clay sculpting and mould making.

Lighthouse Arts Centre: Hosted public card sculpting workshops.

Poole High School: Large-scale card sculpting.


Art workshops with students and residents


Poole History Centre: Discussions and research.

Poole Maritime Trust: Discussions and research.

Poole Museum: Discussions and research.

Poole Old Lifeboat Museum: Discussion and research, also shared the "Newfoundland Bottle Knot"

Poole Quays Forum: Hosted artist talk and discussion for local residents.

RNLI: Research, and hosted artist talk for employees.

Steet Scene: Site preparation and installation.

West Quay Ropes: Discussion and research.

"Young Archaeologists Club" at Poole Museum: Clay and plaster workshop.


Art workshops with students and residents