Unveiled: Ambitious Leeds sculpture featuring 18,000 pieces of hand painted wood

The work in progress from individual blocks to a ceiling sculpture.
The work in progress from individual blocks to a ceiling sculpture.
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Eighteen thousand pieces of hand painted wood, in 370 pods making up more than three and a half tonnes of oak are the basis of an ambitious sculpture that is set to be unveiled in the city’s £165m Victoria Gate retail and leisure development today.

The specially commissioned suspended ceiling has been created by Leeds construction firm The Broadley Group, at the request of developer Hammerson for an undisclosed sum.

The project is set to catch the eye of architectural award ceremonies and the Broadley Group has had up to 50 of its team working on the project for almost three months from design to drawing and fitting, which has been done by transporting the pods from the firm’s joinery workshop in Hunslet to Victoria Gate.

Chris Hiles, the group’s business development manager, said: “It is like nothing we have ever done before. At one point our factory looked like a jenga factory with pieces of wood everywhere.”

Broadley has worked on other regional shopping centres such as The Trinity, Meadowhall in Sheffield and for Robert McAlpine in the original construction of Victoria Gate and was approached by Hammerson, along with 360 individual computer generated images of what they wanted - and a desire to have it finished before the openings of the two flagship roof-top restaurants later this month.

Mr Hiles added: “Fit outs are our bread and butter but this was very bespoke, very unique and very different to what we had done before.

“It was challenging but if that is what the client asks for we will do what we can. It was a great team effort because of the deadlines.

“The scaffolding is coming down today and it looks spectacular.”

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