Broadmead Big Bristol Spheres

15 February 2023

Bagnalls was approached by Broadmead BID to refurbish and make safe the decorative spheres in the centre of Broadmead. The artistic mosaic spheres, originally created by landscape designer and artist Marion Brandis, had been damaged over time with tiles coming off or being broken, raising concerns about the risk of injury to the general public.

According to artist Marion Brandis, the mosaic spheres were originally installed in collaboration with the landscaping firm Reckless Orchard to redevelop the 1950’s Broadmead Shopping Centre. The ‘Bristol Blue’ theme of the mosaics refers to the blue glass manufactured in Bristol in the 18th and 19th centuries, used in the production of medicine and laboratory bottles.

However, Broadmead BID stated “The mosaics were installed many years ago and are regularly damaged. We can sadly no longer repair them in a cost-effective way”.

The Broadmead spheres have required annual maintenance over the years resulting in various creative endeavours. In May 2019, they were repainted in rainbow colours to signify inclusivity in Bristol’s shopping quarter, whilst in June 2020, the spheres were painted in ‘NHS blue’ in honour of NHS workers during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2022, our team removed the mosaic using a chisel and hammer, carefully removing each tile from the spheres which took a day per sphere. The leftover tile adhesive was then rubbed smooth to achieve an even finish ready for painting. The remaining spheres were rubbed down and face filled. Secret Escape Green paint was then applied. This was chosen as it matched the ‘Happy to Chat Bench’, a local initiative that encourages people to talk.

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