‘From a beast to a beauty’: Old oil rig to be transformed into ‘See Monster’ art installation


A decommissioned oil rig is due to be transformed into an interactive art installation dubbed ‘See Monster’.

The 450-tonne structure has been delivered to Weston-super-Mare beach in North Somerset after spending three decades in the North Sea and the last year in a Dutch shipyard being stripped, cleaned and repaired.

Once the project is completed, the 35-metre high platform will feature a waterfall and seated amphitheatre along with a 6,000 piece art installation to give it “scales”, and will be covered in grass, plants and trees.

The aim is to change perceptions around how out-of-date industrial infrastructure should be disposed of, according to Newsubstance, the design company which came up with the idea.

The soon-to-be ‘rehabilitated’ rig will be lifted onto a base at the Tropicana arts and music venue in the town in the coming days.

It is set to be put on legs in the next six to eight weeks with a wild garden planted on top.

The creative director and founder of Newsubstance, Patrick O’Mahony, said: “We didn’t want to build from new, we wanted to really explore reused [materials].

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“We wanted to bring it in almost as the beast and transform it into a beauty.

“The point is that it is like it has been ‘rehabilitated’ – it has spent its life taking out of the earth and now it is time to give back.”

The platform arrives in Weston-super-Mare
See Monster, a decommissioned North Sea offshore platform that is set to become one of the UK's largest public art installations, arrives in Weston-super-Mare, in North Somerset. Picture date: Wednesday July 13, 2022.
The project aims to change perceptions around how out-of-date industrial infrastructure should be disposed of

Despite the efforts, it will only be open for two months from August to October, before the artworks are installed around the town and rig itself deconstructed and recycled.

The North Somerset councillor for placemaking and economy, Mark Canniford, said Weston-super-Mare had been chosen for the installation out of a “long-list” of seaside towns.

He added it is part of the efforts for the town to re-establish itself as one of Britain’s great seaside destinations, with the See Monster representing regeneration and rebirth.


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