I was delighted to be invited to Pontio for a guided tour yesterday. Whilst walking into the foyer I was struck by how light, bright and airy the building felt.
It was amazing to see the plans and the artists’ impressions actually come to life. We had a guided tour of many rooms and I was so impressed by the size, quality and diversity of the rooms – it is a veritable Tardis! There is a cinema, – a beautiful cinema – I can’t wait to see the latest James Bond film there! It will be open every evening with 2 viewings at 5.30 pm and 8.15 pm. There is a theatre – a very different theatre which can be changed round in a few hours to hold a standing gig or a play – with many possible layouts. Students can have lectures in the light airy rooms which have the latest technology and then have corridor or outside space for group discussions or just mingle. The possibilities featured are endless. The ethos of Pontio is literally the bridge – a bridge between town and gown – a bridge between citizens and students – this is to be a shared space. There are rooms where science and technology meet with arts and culture. There are opportunities of design and support for local businesses such as helping to design products like the wonderful kangaroo light – definitely want a small one of those for my handbag. The gallery windows of Pontio offer superb views of Bangor. I’ve posted one or two pictures which I took yesterday The photos don’t do it justice.
I was pleased to sample tasters of a small selection of the menu available. I tried fish chowder, feta salad and a vegetable curry which were delicious to be followed by an eaton mess with a difference and sticky toffee pudding, they were sumptuous!
Upon reflection Pontio has had a tough time to get built, including disappointments and embarrassing delays – there will no doubt be wrangling between the many bodies involved in this – but looking at the building yesterday it will have been worthwhile. It is superb, definitely another jewel in the crown of the City of Bangor.
Outside Pontio it is beginning to look more finished and work is being done to install the public art. Whilst I recognise how important it is to have a piece of public art, I really do not like Y Caban. It may be a superb structure by the renowned Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout and is meant to be a modern day interpretation of the quarrymen’s cabin. Public art is meant to be controversial but whilst I think the concept was inspirational, in my opinion I find the reality to be a slimy green rubber duck! You will see it as you go past Pontio – what do you think? However, I do like the idea of the light meadow which has yet to be installed.
As citizens we must use, enjoy and be proud of this innovative and inspiring facility. Do apply for your free tickets for the Welcome Day to see Shine on 28th November, 2015 to experience the building for yourself.