On the Spot

Four polished steel rings, the largest 7 metres in diameter, form part of a revitalized public space, celebrating Derby’s engineering prowess in this contemporary piece of public art.

Lifting the rings into position
Lifting the rings into position

“On the Spot” is a contemporary landmark for Derby. The artwork is inspired by Derby’s tradition of excellence and innovation in engineering, as witnessed in such local and internationally prestigious companies as Rolls Royce, Bombardier and Smiths of Derby.

This landmark public artwork sits at the heart of the major redevelopment of the Spot, which has long been considered as the natural arrival point to Derby. Its location follows a tradition of historic gateway arches, welcoming new visitors to the city.

New seating, lighting, planting and landscaping have opened up and transformed the Spot to create the space and opportunity to enjoy diverse social and cultural events and provide a natural meeting point for visitors. The brushed stainless steel finish of the sculpture softens the reflection of surrounding lighting, reducing glare and creating clean and contemporary lines

Opening launch

We were commissioned by Derby City Council via an open call and public feedback on the shortlisted proposals. We worked closely with the council regeneration team, engineers and landscape designers over the course of the project to develop the design within the overall masterplan. We were fortunate to work with a local fabricator with the skills and expertise to fabricate and install the final structure.


The design uses four interwoven brushed stainless steel rings to create a dynamic artwork inspired by the theme of engines and which references the idea of ‘motion’. The shape is derived from the airflow passing through a propeller in motion, linking these helixes together to create a continuous loop. The final form, which appears as if it is embedded into the landscape, is both structurally efficient and aerodynamic.

The sculpture rewards closer inspection; when viewed straight on, it appears as if the rings are created from concentric rings, but walk around it and its complex geometry is revealed.


Client: Derby City Council
Collaborators: Momentum Engineering, PromeX Ltd
Photography: Philip Wolmouth & Georgia Pulford

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