Csaba Vass, who has created thousands of iconic ice sculptures including a 7 metre long live carving of the London skyline in front of the London Eye, will be carving a giant Valentine’s Day heart as Bexleyheath celebrates the most romantic week of the year. The ice heart, which will take a day to be carved off-site in a special freezer, is part of a host of Valentine’s Day themed events at Broadway shopping centre starting on Monday February 6th.

Broadway shopping Centre General Manager Peter Sedge is inviting shoppers to pen a love message or two, in a bid to raise more than £1,000 in aid of the Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice, starting February 6.

The messages will be collected in a box up to February 13th before being suspended in two giant ceiling-height heart displays at the culmination of the celebrations.

The heart sculpture is set to be unveiled on Saturday February 11. Shoppers will be invited to guess how long the finished heart sculpture will take to melt, with the closest guess winning a Pandora bracelet and charm worth £160.  Ice artist Csaba works on behalf of Icebox, based in New Covent Garden Market. The company previously broke the World Record for the tallest-ever cocktail glass made of ice with a four metre high sculpture that was filled with a special cocktail.

Csaba later scooped a world ice sculpting title at the Tatry Ice Master international ice sculpting competition in Slovakia in 2015. During his 12-year ice carving career so far he has been responsible for thousands of ice sculptures, including the one at the London Eye which took a team of ice artists over 12 hours.

“It’s the best job ever,” said the 34-year-old from Hammersmith.

“Ice has interesting and unique characteristics; it’s almost like working with a live material as it literally transforms in front of you unlike other materials which take thousands of years to change to that extent. You can see the whole process from start to finish.

“We once did a project for the New York Transit Museum in which we built a life-size train and carriages from ice with passengers on the platform all carved in ice. People could even sit inside the train. It took a lot of work.

“I’m looking forward to carving the heart for the Broadway. “I’ve not carved a heart like this one before, it’s very contemporary. There will be lots of triangulated flat plates to build up the shape but it will be very eye-catching.”

Broadway Shopping Centre is hoping to raise £1,000 for the Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice from donations during Valentine’s week.

Peter Sedge, General Manager at Broadway Shopping Centre said: “We have a whole host of activities to heat up the romance and melt the hearts of our shoppers this Valentine’s day. “Our hand-carved iced heart promises to be a real show stopper and if you’re bursting to declare your sweet nothings to a mystery admirer then why not drop by our secret love note event and send your sentiments sky high!

“We’re very proud to be supporting the Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice once again and hope lots of our shoppers make a heart-felt donation to this fantastic cause.”

Jason Vickers is MD of Norfolk-based event company Flying Sauce Creative, which is organising Broadway shopping centre’s Valentine’s activities.

Jason said: “Once the heart has fully melted, we will take a picture showing the final time from the stop clock and post this onto social media announcing the final time together with the winner.

“The Centre will provide a variety of Valentine-themed activities during five days of craft workshops. From picture frame decorating to heart-shaped trinket boxes, families will be invited to take part in the week-long activity in return for a small charity donation.

“Once each person has finished decorating their item, they will be invited to have a photo taken in a large picture frame.

“Each picture will be submitted to Facebook for shoppers to vote for their favourite and the top five winning pictures with the most likes will win a prize each.”

The multi award-winning Icebox, based in New Covent Garden, London, is one of the UK’s leading ice design and sculpture agencies, designing and creating ice sculptures across the world.

In 2001, the company achieved the world record for the largest-ever cocktail in an ice-sculpted cocktail glass, standing at 4m tall and filled with more than 35litres of a secret cocktail recipe. Samples of the special drink were served to the public in Covent Garden, London, via a tap in the stem of the glass.

Csaba was born and raised in Romania and studied sculpture at university there.

While he was in New York on a student exchange, he discovered a large ice sculpting studio and decided to pay them a visit.

“I’d never seen ice sculpting before and I fell in love with it,” he said.

“It took some time to get used to the tools as it was completely different from working with normal materials. You have to be incredibly quick and you can’t make any mistakes like when you’re using clay. Every mistake can be seen and can’t be rectified.

“I ended up working there for six years and learnt everything I know.”

While in the USA, Csaba won a bevy of championship medals from the National Ice Carving Association. He also won a coveted winner’s title while representing the UK in the Tatry Ice Master international ice sculpting competition in Slovakia in 2015.

“I moved to the UK around six years ago and started to work for an ice sculpting company before spending about five years as a freelance ice artist.

“I’ve made so many now that it’s not really nerve-racking any more. It used to be in the beginning but I enjoy it now and people always get really excited when they see it.

“The Ice box, where I work full-time now, specialises in large projects. We’ve recently created three ‘pop up’ ice bars where you can actually go in and order a drink. These are basically created within large ice containers.”

The company uses on average 3,000 blocks of ice a year – 1,000 of which Csaba will personally carve. Each block weighs approximately 150kg and measures 100cm by 50cm by 25cm. The ice is supplied from both a UK and Belgian manufacturer and where more than one block is needed for a project, water is used as a glue. Sculptures on the scale of Icebox’s London skyline can take more than a week to melt but Csaba is remaining tight-lipped about the melting time of a heart the size of the Broadway’s sculpture.

Greg Pittard, commercial director at Icebox, said: “We are very excited to be involved in this bespoke ice project. It is always a pleasure and a challenge when a client comes to us with such an exciting brief.

“In this instance we have been asked to create a modern twist on one of the world’s classic shapes and images, the Valentine’s Day Heart, by adding contemporary facets to the ice, which really will create a light and eye-catching centre piece.

“Add the excitement of guessing how long the piece will take to melt and you have a truly unique ice design, experience and installation!”

For more information about events and stores at Broadway Shopping Centre go to www.broadwayshoppingcentre.com or visit the centre’s Facebook page or Twitter account @BroadwayBexley Based on information supplied by Deb James

Source : Newsshopper