Tragedy at Interactive Public Art Event in Chester Le Street

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A giant inflatable structure known as Dreamspace V was exhibited in Chester Le Street in County Durham. This was an artistic  creation of the late Maurice Agis and consisted of coloured units which people could walk through while wearing gowns and listening to music.

A gust of wind caused the inflated structure to break free from its anchorage and lift into the air. Two women inside died and various others were injured.

The victims compensation claims were settled and the issue before the court was how fault was to be apportioned between the artist who created the structure, the events organiser of the exhibition and the council.

The artist had died in 2009 and there was no money in his estate and he was uninsured.

The court found that the council and events organiser were at fault for relying on the inadequate risk assessment that the artist had carried out and for not ensuring that the structure was properly anchored.

During an earlier exhibition of the project at Liverpool the event organiser found that the structure was potentially unsafe in windy conditions but did not alert the council. As a result a higher degree of fault was placed with them apportioned at 55% for the event organiser and 45% for the council.  



Ruth Johnson

Solicitor - Personal Injury Team

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