A message that’s hard to ignore! Bold new look for historic Leeds building works a treat

The Lyons Works building with Paul Brough and Ian Fulcher, two of the students who worked on the project.
The Lyons Works building with Paul Brough and Ian Fulcher, two of the students who worked on the project.
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Talented art students have added a splash of vibrant colour to an historic building in Leeds city centre.

The facade of the Lyons Works building on Templar Lane has been turned into a massive public art installation featuring the Albert Einstein-inspired words ‘Learn from yesterday, live for today, design for tomorrow’.

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The installation is a partnership between Leeds College of Art, local artist Peter Barber and Hammerson, the firm behind the adjacent Victoria Gate retail development.

Its eye-catching fonts and ornamentation are designed to reflect elements of Leeds’s heritage such as Kirkgate Market and the city’s Victorian arcades.

The words, meanwhile, were picked as a nod to the cultural institutions that can be found at nearby Quarry Hill.

Students who worked on the project included Ian Fulcher, Paul Brough, Zatul Iffah Fakharuldin, Tamar Attia, Bibi Klamer and Ellie Chappell.

Leeds College of Art staff member Simon Thorpe 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.”

Hammerson says the installation shows its eagerness to support Leeds’s cultural scene.

Victoria Gate development manager James Hepburn 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’s 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.”

Built in 1914, Lyons Works was originally a clothing factory. More recently, the Hammerson-owned site was home to Chinese restaurants and shops but is currently unoccupied.

Plans were announced in 2014 for the building to be knocked down to create new car parking spaces, although it was subsequently granted a reprieve.

The £165m Victoria Gate development is due to open in October and will boast John Lewis as its anchor tenant.

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