The sculpter Oliver Barratt has written about the design concept of the Antarctic Monument. On his website he says:
One work in two halves
Antarctica is a vast frozen continent of ice and rock. Twice the size of Australia, it contains 90% of the world’s fresh water and is the coldest, windiest and driest place on the planet. Over the past 100 years, British scientists have been working to discover the secrets of this icebound land. In this endeavour, 29 people have lost their lives.
The Antarctic Monument has been commissioned to commemorate their loss. However, this memorial not only enshrines the names of the dead, but also acts out the sense of loss that the friends and family experience. It is a single Monument made in two parts, one in the UK, and the other in the Falklands Islands, the gateway to the Antarctic.
In Cambridge, the British Antarctic Survey and the Scott Polar Research Institute train and send scientists to the Antarctic.
Standing beside the entrance to the Scott Polar Research Institute, two half–ton beams of carved English oak lean on each other, the interior form describes a shallow vertical ellipse. In Port Stanley the capital of the Falkland Islands, the same form, but made from mirror-polished stainless steel, upward pointing and leaning towards the sea, sits on an engraved bronze base. In Cambridge, the form is made from the warm richness of the earth, natural and organic, while in the Falklands, the cold brilliance of the mirror-finished steel is of the air rather than the earth.
The two forms complete each other, but remain forever apart, calling to each other, although the whole world separates them.