Look at the recently unveiled Naval Service Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, and you will see glass sails, granite paving and a carved figure in a bowed position – with no structural steel visible from the outside.
But hidden structural steel inside that human figure will help to keep him standing strong for many years to come, alongside the coloured glass fins.
The contrast between the two – the sedate figure holding his cap in the ‘at ease’ position, and the differently coloured glass sheets – is part of the design of the piece.
Beneath it at ground level, the pale granite paving provides a blank canvas on to which coloured light can be cast by the glass sails, creating a multi-coloured seascape scene at sunset.
The idea behind the sculpture is a simple one: “At the going down of the sun, we will remember them.”
Steel provides the inspiration for the colour of one of the glass panels too, as steel grey is the colour that represents the Atlantic Ocean.
Turquoise for the Indian Ocean, ultramarine for the Pacific, and white for the Arctic and Southern Oceans complete the piece, with additional panels for the rising and setting sun in yellow and a symbolic blood red.