Coalescence – New Artwork Set to Light Up Liverpool Cathedral

07th February 2023

Liverpool Cathedral is set to host the world debut of a new art installation created using thousands of pieces of coal to challenge perceptions and prompt questions about energy consumption and the environment.

Coalescence  – new artwork set to light up Liverpool Cathedral

Coalescence, created by award-winning British designer Paul Cocksedge, spans six metres in diameter and will be illuminated and suspended from the ceiling of the Grade 1 listed building to allow the pieces of coal to sparkle in the light like a chandelier.

Coalescence features over half a tonne of coal, which represents the amount of power needed to light one 200W light bulb for a year and is made from anthracite – a type of coal with a high lustre that is low in impurities – and has been specially sourced from one of the last remaining coal mines in the UK.

The Dean of Liverpool, The Very Revd Dr Sue Jones, said:

“Paul Cocksedge is exceptionally talented and his work has been shown at iconic locations around the world. We’re enormously grateful that Paul has chosen to debut his fantastic Coalescence installation in the wonderful surroundings of Liverpool Cathedral. 

“As a place of encounter, contemplation and reflection, Liverpool Cathedral is a space where people can come to find a sense of joy and wonder as they connect with thought-provoking artworks like Coalescence. 

“Our previous collaborations with contemporary artists have been extremely well received and we’re very much looking forward to encouraging people to take time out to appreciate the remarkable beauty of Coalescence as they consider some of the issues explored by the piece.”   

Speaking about the creative process and the concept behind Coalescence, Paul Cocksedge said:

“This is a simple idea that has led to an incredible, educational journey. I’ve become really close to the material, hand-drilling thousands of pieces of coal to make this artwork.

“What I enjoy about this piece is that it sculpturally represents energy, as well as connecting to a huge range of challenges society is facing around where our energy comes from, how it’s sourced and what it costs. Showing this in Liverpool Cathedral, in this year in particular, felt very timely.”

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 is supported by Carpenters Workshop Gallery and 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

Coalescence opens on 9 February and runs until 12 March.