Alliance (sculpture)

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Coordinates: 51°28′42″N 3°10′32″W / 51.47823°N 3.17544°W / 51.47823; -3.17544

Alliance on the Hayes, Cardiff.jpg
Alliance is located in Cardiff
Location of Alliance in Cardiff city centre
Artist Jean-Bernard Metais
Year 2009 (2009)
Type Metal sculpture
Dimensions 25 metres (82 ft) tall
17 metres (56 ft) diameter
Location The Hayes, Cardiff
Coordinates 51°28′40.8″N 3°10′31.44″W / 51.478000°N 3.1754000°W / 51.478000; -3.1754000
Owner St David's

Alliance is a 25 metres (82 ft) high sculpture in the centre of Cardiff, Wales. The sculpture consists of a large stainless steel and enamelled metal arrow column and a hoop, which glows in the dark, and falls and rises with the tide.

The sculpture, paid for by the St David’s shopping centre as part of a £1.5m public art scheme in the city centre, was installed in the space between the new mall and Cardiff Central Library in The Hayes area of the city centre.[1]


Alliance in front of St David's

The sculpture consists of a large stainless steel and enamelled metal arrow column and circular hoop which seem to balance in the air. The circle is filled with a liquid which will have a phosphorus glow at night and rises and falls with the movement of the tides.[2]

The hoop is partially submerged below the pavement and a mechanism is programmed to make it rise and fall with the tide. It is also filled with a liquid that glows at night.

English and Welsh words, written by Cardiff-based Peter Finch, are projected onto the pavement at night by equipment installed within the arrow. The text is a play on the word Cardiff, reflecting its history and the present day according to developers.[1]


Alliance was created by French artist Jean-Bernard Métais

The sculpture was commissioned following a national competition to find the right piece of artwork that would fit well within the city and become a new landmark. A total of 120 responses were received from artists across the globe with just five artists shortlisted for the opportunity.

Jean-Bernard Metais has been creating city-specific artworks for locations around the world for 25 years. In 2000, more than three million people came to see his monumental piece Eclipse in Le Jardin des Plantes in Paris. According to Metais, “good public art is like a door to the senses that makes the entire space, the place and the people in it resonate together. It's an attempt to create a sensorial and poetic connection between a place and its inhabitants.”

Alliance was judged to have the required scale which was necessary due to its location between the prominent library building and John Lewis.[2]


Work to erect the sculpture began on 16 November 2009 and was completed within a fortnight.

The sculpture was brought into the city centre on three articulated lorries and lifted into place by cranes operated by the French installation team and artist Jean-Bernard Metais.[3]

Alliance touches the ground in three pin-pointed places and extensive foundations three metres deep. The arrow arrived first on the Monday morning to be installed with the hoop brought in on the following Wednesday, and lifted up adjacent to the library.[2]


The sculpture was unveiled on 3 December 2009.[1]


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