FEC (Far East Consortium)
The formation of Angel was initiated through a directive from the FEC, tasked with the development of the Angel Meadows vicinity in Manchester, soon to be recognized as Meadowside. The primary objective was to conceive a project that could evoke a captivating “wow” factor, serve as a noteworthy conversation starter, and make a striking introduction for the city to Angel Meadows and the forthcoming Meadowside district.
A collaborative community art endeavor resulted in the construction of a sustainable structure composed of 5,000 recycled bottles generously supplied with paint by HMG Paints, an integral part of the Angel Meadows community, headquartered just north of Angel Meadows Park.
Incorporated into the angel’s design, the waterproof acrylic paint colors were thoughtfully selected to enhance the sculpture’s visual appeal and facilitate its visibility from an aerial perspective.
The structure, measuring 32.5 by 26.5 meters, required over three weeks of meticulous positioning on the southern grassy expanse of the park. Given the intricacy of the design and the sheer size of the structure, all placement logistics were expertly handled by the Lazerian team.
“As an artist I find strength and beauty in the lightest and most ubiquitous of materials and plastic bottles are exactly the sort of products that we want to work with in this multi-dimensional design.”
Sustainable community art project
The darkness of the city at the time was described by French philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville as
“A sort of black smoke covers the city. Under this half-daylight, 300,000 human beings are ceaselessly at work. A thousand noises disturb this damp, dark labyrinth, but they are not the ordinary sounds one hears in great cities.”
Angel Meadows, a centrally located city park, carries a mysterious history, once overlooked and underutilized. Extensive research and park exploration unveiled numerous significant revelations, including the dark history of this area, once infamous as “Hell On Earth” and notorious as Victorian Britain’s Most Savage Slums.
With the emergence of ‘Cottonopolis,’ the region became densely populated, its narrow streets transforming into overcrowded, squalid thoroughfares, surpassing the UK’s average in terms of lethality at that time.
According to the 1881 census, there were slightly over 1,000 inhabited residences in this vicinity, with a mortality rate ranging from 32 to 50 per 1,000 annually. In contrast, the national average for the entire country during the same period was less than 19 per 1,000.
thousands of recycled bottles
St. Michael and All Angels’ church, constructed in 1788, oversaw the rapid expansion of its neighboring cemetery, which swiftly grew to become one of the city’s largest. Angel Meadow found itself packed with the remains of 40,000 individuals—those without families or the means for proper funerals.
In the 1816 guidebook to Manchester, this area was aptly termed a ‘depot for the dead.’ Ironically, today, it is known as Angel Meadow, situated in the Meadowside district.
Given the multitude of lost souls interred beneath, it seemed fitting to place an angelic guardian upon this land to watch over those who contributed to shaping Manchester into the vibrant place it is today.
The decision regarding the design of the art sculpture was influenced by both historical culture and the contemporary global context. It was deemed significant to have an angel overseeing Manchester in the present day, serving as a symbol that bridges the past with the current times.
Sustainability lies at the core of Lazerian’s values, making it especially crucial to convey this commitment in the commission. The endeavor to craft the structure from recycled bottles was both ambitious and resourceful. Involving the community adds a cultural dimension to the area, instilling a sense of self-worth.
Communities foster opportunities for individuals to unite in creative endeavors and cultural celebrations. They build their social capital by collaborating, sharing, pursuing common objectives, and forging cultural connections.
By creating a piece of lasting artwork from everyday used objects, (children) will learn first-hand the critical role recycling plays in our environment and will have lots of fun in the process
The effort to gather recycled bottles garnered an immense following from the community. Using social media, company endorsements, blog posts, and good old-fashioned word of mouth, the entire Manchester community rallied together. They dropped off used plastic bottles at various collection points scattered across the city.
Local schools hosted workshops, and organized clean-up events, thanks to the collaboration with the local charity Moodswings, situated in the Meadowside area. Moodswings played a pivotal role in volunteering their time for paint filling workshops. With Lazerian’s guidance, a specific number of acrylic paint colors were allocated to a corresponding quantity of bottles to ensure a sufficient supply of each color, vital for shaping the angel’s design.
Additionally, community volunteers, including students from Manchester College, dedicated their time to fill bottles at the Lazerian workshop. Team members from Lazerian visited local schools to emphasize the importance of recycling and actively engage young students. These students collected empty plastic bottles that played a vital role in the final design structure, serving as an educational tool to convey the significance of sustainability and recycling.
Affectionately known as “Angel,” the art sculpture called the park its home from November through the New Year.