In 2002 Cammel Laird Shipyard in Birkenhead near Liverpool was building a 14 storey ship section to upgrade the Costa Classica cruise ship owned by Italian Costa Cruises. The almost 200 year old shipyard was famous in the seventies and eighties for building nuclear submarines. Contracts had dried up with the end of the Cold War, and they were looking for a way into the civilian market. This assignment looked like a promising start. When the Costa Classica was already on its way to Birkenhead to be cut in half, Costa Cruises was taken over by Carnival Cruises, an American firm. Carnival doesn’t do ship extensions, they just replace outdated ships. News reached the shipyard that the Costa Classica had made a U-turn and was now steaming back to Italy. The new owners said they had reports of faults in the section. Within months the shipyard was declared bankrupt and its workers were laid off.
“The 14 storeys high section was bought by a consortium of Dutch investors. It was scrapped in Heijsehaven harbour in Rotterdam, just opposite my studio. My bas-relief was constructed while the original section was being dismantled. I even got to visit the section before they started. The only way in was to be hoisted on top of it by a tall crane. The upper decks were nearly finished, with spaces fitted as restaurants, a discotheque and a swimming pool. Lower down were hundreds of cabins and a fully equipped engine room – all brand new. It was an eerie experience.”
Image top: Studio panorama by Pepijn van Sandijk.
Slides: A photorecord of our visit to the section by Peter Breevoort.
A man scavenges the streets of Rotterdam, picking up old doors and boards; materials considered worthless by others. He turns them into beautiful and spectacular works of art in his workshop, celebrating the inventiveness and perseverance of humanity as well as its frailty and failures. Welcome to the portfolio of Ron van der Ende. Just click the images. Any work is only two steps away.