Famous designer calls for creative thinking on Spa sea defences

Designer Richard Seymour, and below, the "sea organ" in Croatia
Designer Richard Seymour, and below, the "sea organ" in Croatia

n COMMENTING on the planned Spa sea defences, Richard Seymour said: “People will always say ‘I don’t want something to change’, but change can be better rather than worse.” He added: “It’s not about spending more money. Great design can be delivered for less.”

ONE of the world’s leading designers has given his take on the proposed sea defences at Scarborough’s Spa Complex.

The "sea organ" in Croatia

The "sea organ" in Croatia

Scarborough-born Richard Seymour, who gave a talk at Scarborough Library on Monday, told the Evening News he feels strongly about the proposal for concrete steps along the sea wall, and that it is a “fascinating issue”.

Mr Seymour, whose company Seymour Powell brought us the first cordless kettle and pocketable mobile phone, said Scarborough could look at what had been achieved in Zadar, Croatia, where an innovative “sea organ” (pictured) has been built.

Underneath the stone steps are 35 musically tuned tubes with whistle openings on the surface. The movement of the sea pushes air through, and – depending on the size and velocity of the wave – musical chords are played.

Mr Seymour said: “There is a balance to be struck. There is the need to shore the area up, but there is a powerful aesthetic side too.

“Good design is when these elements evolve at the same time.”

He encouraged those behind the Scarborough scheme to look at Croatia’s example and consider the thousands of visitors the sea organ attracts.

Mr Seymour added: “It’s about how we can make this absolutely amazing - but not absolutely expensive.

“If Scarborough looked at this in a different way, it could do something along the lines of what it always intended to do, which is attract visitors and create thrall and delight.”

He said the town would benefit from having a “creative director” and though he would not have enough time to take on the role himself, he would gladly brief them.

The outspoken designer, who has recently been working on the interior of the Virgin Galactic spacecraft, said Scarborough “knows how to entertain, but has just forgotten”.

He explained: “I’m very passionate about Scarborough - it’s a wonderful place. But it needs vision and joy.

“There was a time when there wasn’t a corner of this town that wasn’t about delivering joy and fun, from the Italian gardens to the Corner Cafe.

“People need more ‘destination’ things to come to.”

He also suggested a natural “dancing water” fountain as part of the Spa work.