Artwork brings life back to historic Lyons Works building

19 July 2016

Community art initiative brings life back to historic Lyons Works building in Leeds City Centre...
Hammerson, Leeds College of Art and local artist Peter Barber collaborate to enliven Lyons Works building.

New artwork on the façade of the Lyons Works building on Templar Lane, Leeds is now complete following a partnership between Hammerson, Leeds College of Art, and renowned local artist, Peter Barber, who specialises in bespoke handcrafted murals and signs.

Commissioned by Hammerson, owners of the building, the mural saw Peter Barber work alongside his assistant Stephen Malcolm and six Leeds College of Art students. The impactful typography, fonts and ornamentation of the artwork was inspired by Leeds’ rich heritage, paying homage to its Victorian arcades, Kirkgate market and the iconic Tetley Brewery.

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The artwork’s quote reads,

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, design for tomorrow”.

The phrase, borrowed from Einstein, is a nod towards the site’s surroundings of Quarry Hill, home to Leeds’ cultural institutions.

Students from the College's Illustration and Printed Textiles and Surfacse Pattern Design degree courses joined Peter in creating the iconic mural, which included, Ian Fulcher, Paul Brough, Zatul Iffah Fakharuldin, Tamar Attia, Bibi Klamer and Ellie Chappell.

Originally a garment factory, the Edwardian Lyons Works, built in 1914, has been an iconic part of Leeds’ skyline for over a century, but has been empty for much of this time. The building is adjacent to the new Victoria Gate retail development.

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Simon Thorpe, Director of Studies - Professional and External Development at Leeds College of Art, said: “Working with Hammerson on the Lyons Works building was an opportunity our students relished and gained valuable experience from. Not only did they develop client pitching and project management skills, they worked alongside the talented artist Peter Barber who, prior to the project ran workshops on how to design and implement public art projects. The students had the opportunity to see the product of all their hard work in the transformation of a significant historical building in a key regeneration area of Leeds. I’d like to congratulate our students for all their hard work and thank Hammerson and Peter for their involvement in this project.”

The public art installation forms part of Hammerson’s commitment to Leeds’ art and culture scene, which has also seen the developer behind the £165m Victoria Gate site work with groups including East Street Arts.

James Hepburn, Development Manager at Victoria Gate, said: “We are truly committed to the cultural development and identity of Leeds, and throughout this development we have been very conscious to work closely with all stakeholders to preserve and respect Leeds’ rich heritage. The Lyons Works building is a historic site and we are pleased to be able to collaborate with Leeds College of Art and local students and artists to make this new installation possible.” 

You can read the Yorkshire Evening Post's media coverage on the project here