Coal sculpture at Liverpool Cathedral shines a light on energy consumption

Thousands of pieces of coal are suspended from the ceiling at Liverpool Cathedral as part of a monumental artwork, created by internationally acclaimed British designer Paul Cocksedge. The installation runs until 12 March.

With a diameter of six meters, the Coalescence artwork, composed of over half a ton of coal, is a visually impactful representation of the amount of power required to keep a single 200W light bulb illuminated for a year.

The artwork has been meticulously assembled with hand-drilled pieces of anthracite, sourced from one of the UK’s last remaining coal mines. These pieces are suspended from the grand Gothic ceiling of the Grade I listed building to create a stunning, eye-catching sculpture.

Coalescence raises questions about energy consumption, the history of fossil fuels, and the importance of reaching net zero. It contributes to a larger discourse about the origin of energy, its procurement, and its cost.

Speaking about Coalescence at Liverpool Cathedral, award-winning designer and artist, Paul Cocksedge, whose work has been shown at iconic locations around the globe, said, “As a sculptural representation of energy, the inspiration for Coalescence comes from a simple calculation, which shows that it takes over half a tonne of coal to power just one lightbulb for a year.  I found this fascinating.

Coalescence is designed to spark curiosity and encourage conversation around energy consumption. What makes the artwork so visually attractive is the surprising beauty of the highly reflective material, despite the common preconception that coal is ugly and dull. This is an artwork of epic scale and I am excited to be showing the piece for the very first time at Liverpool Cathedral, with its incredible Gothic architecture setting the scene for contemplation.”

The Dean of Liverpool, The Very Revd Dr Sue Jones, said, “We’re extremely grateful to have the opportunity to host such a wonderful artwork at Liverpool Cathedral. Coalescence raises some important questions around energy usage and sustainability. The installation also serves as a reminder that beauty can be found all around us, often in the most unexpected of things. 

“The captivating artwork connects us to the striking beauty of thousands of pieces of gleaming anthracite coal, which almost has a crystal-like appearance as it sparkles in the light above the Cathedral Well. I hope visitors will take time out to look up and wonder in peaceful reflection as they appreciate the installation in all its splendour.” 

As a designer, Paul Cocksedge has spent much of his time working with local craftsmen and many of his pieces have been created in Liverpool including his copper and aluminium Freeze desk, which involved working with the city’s shipbuilders to push the boundaries of metalwork.

His previous work also includes KISS  for City of Milan; Please Be Seated  for London Design Festival and British Land; the Living Staircase  for Ampersand in London; and an acclaimed solo exhibition at the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York. 

The Coalescence installation, supported by Carpenters Workshop Gallery, forms part of a programme of events, exhibitions and artworks leading up to Liverpool Cathedral’s 100th anniversary, which falls next year. 

For more information about Coalescence and the wider events programme at Liverpool Cathedral, please visit  and for further details on Paul Cocksedge, please visit

Why not follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? You can also send story ideas to

Share this

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter

Facebook comments

Latest news