The Energetica Needle


Background: This is the largest undertaking David Harber has been asked to design. It is a long term and live project, which DH has been involved with from day one after meeting the landowner of the installation site at Chelsea Flower Show 2011.

The brief is to build a huge and iconic landmark, a memorable and immediately recognizable public sculpture which identifies the ‘Energetica Corridor’ running from the northern perimeter of Aberdeen up the east coast of Scotland to Peterhead and Fraserbrugh. This narrow strip of the UK is a world renowned hotspot for innovation, knowledge, learning and skills which will shape the global energy industry of the future. The community is built up from companies, organisations and research institutions collaborating to meet the world’s energy challenges.

Three dimensional model of Needle public sculpture

Two existing pieces of David Harber’s work which had caught the client’s interest were the twin spiral towers proposed for Burj Khalifa in Dubai and our contemporary take on the ancient sundial, the Obelisk.

The Proposed Concepts: In the first round of drawings, David Harber submitted 10 proposed concepts for very tall structures.

David’s primary reaction to the brief was to look at how the tall structure could represent a compass needle, clearly and resolutely pointing north.

His main artistic intention was to create something dramatic, powerful and strong yet retain a natural elegance, reflecting the hidden energy of natural resources in the North of the UK.

Obelisk sculpture

Project requirements:

  • Make the sculpture accessible to the public, so that they are able to get up close, touch it, go inside and be part of it
  • Needs to have enough scale that it can be seen from the A90 dual carriageway which runs past the installation site
  • Much of the day can be in darkness at this latitude, therefore impressive up lighting is a necessity
  • Consider the 195m tall wind turbines located just 2 miles offshore
  • Marking of time, looking to the future
  • Marking North