Brighton Council defends £25,000 spending on art on Madeira Terrace

A council has defended spending £25,000 on a new neon artwork to light up a historic building in Brighton.

Brighton and Hove City Council unveiled the Electric Garden on Madeira Terrace during Wednesday night’s Burning the Clocks event.

Sussex artist Andy Doig, who opened his design studio on Madeira Drive in 1995, said he was inspired for the piece by what grows under the arches of Madeira Terrace.

A garden of sculpted glass tubes designed to reflect and highlight existing plant growth. The work is illuminated daily between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Each tube is made entirely by hand in the artist’s studio from recycled glass.

However, some local residents have commented on the cost of the artwork, saying the money “should have been better spent”.

Brighton and Hove City Council said the work had already made a big difference for the terrace, which is due to be restored next autumn.

They said the artwork is “good value for money” and will attract more residents and visitors to the area during the winter months.

A spokesman for the council said: “Lighting up even just the few arches has made a real difference in how this part of the seafront feels at night.

“The new energy-saving lighting gave it a different atmosphere.

“Madeira Drive has some brilliant shops and is already a popular destination in the summer months. This lighting “event” is intended to enhance and brighten the area for local residents who regularly walk this route during the winter months.

“Together with the restoration of the terrace, this is a step towards a future year-round destination.

“The lighting is designed to be reused over a five-year period in future phases of the Madeira Terrace restoration or elsewhere in the city.

“The upfront cost of £25,000 works out to £5,000 per year over five years. We think this is really good value for money.

“It is now an accepted principle of urban design that art in public spaces contributes to the identity of a community, promotes community pride and a sense of belonging.”

The council said the commission is part of a new art program for the terrace called Otherworlds.

The first part of the program invited light artists to consider the site in relation to the ‘otherworldly’ plant habitat that has grown there over the past 150 years and provide soft lighting to illuminate the area for the winter months.

When the dark nights are over, it will be retained and reused in other parts of the patio, the council said.

Otherworlds… is the latest work to emerge from the council’s public arts strategy launched in April, marking the first phase of the terrace’s restoration. Brighton Council defends £25,000 spending on art on Madeira Terrace

Fry Electronics Team

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