Vibrant artwork transforming entrance to Kirkgate Market in Leeds is unveiled

A piece of 3D artwork which transforms the entrance into Leeds' Kirkgate Market has been unveiled.
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Award winning Yorkshire artist, Rob Lee was commissioned by Leeds City Council, which wanted a piece of art that reflected the vibrancy of the market and its traders as well as a nod to the centre for arts and culture that it is hoping to become.

It was revealed last Friday, at the New York Street entrance, along with a commemorative plaque which was unveiled by Coun Jonathan Pryor.

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The design that Mr Lee came up with animates the entrance with the illusion of a 3D effect and was inspired by the grand Victorian entrances of the original Grade I-listed building. He also wanted to complement the architecture of the surrounding area and the colours found within the market.

Coun Jonathan Pryor from Leeds City Council (left) with artist Rob Lee and  his artwork outside Kirkgate Market in Leeds.Coun Jonathan Pryor from Leeds City Council (left) with artist Rob Lee and  his artwork outside Kirkgate Market in Leeds.
Coun Jonathan Pryor from Leeds City Council (left) with artist Rob Lee and his artwork outside Kirkgate Market in Leeds.

He said: “I was extremely proud to be given the opportunity to design artwork for one of the city’s most iconic buildings, and wanted to create something bold, colourful and welcoming that reflected its unique character. The history of the markets was a major inspiration for me, with the colours found in the piece combining the ornamental features of the traditional marketplace and the multicultural diversity of its new food hall.

“I’m very happy with the finished product, and hope that the people of Leeds will be able to find some time when they are next in the city centre to come down and see the new artwork for themselves.”

Mr Lee is known for his large-scale, site-specific geometric murals which utilise this 3D effect. He was was officially appointed to design and deliver the project in December last year by a panel made up of market and council staff before developing a number of options which were then put out for consultation with the public, market staff and the markets board and ward members.

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Coun Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for learning, skills and employment, said: “One of the defining features of Leeds Kirkgate Market is its vibrant atmosphere, which has been delighting visitors and customers alike for many years now. We wanted a new look entrance which better reflected this vitality, and we couldn’t be happier with what Rob has produced.

The 3D design at the entrance to Kirkgate Market.The 3D design at the entrance to Kirkgate Market.
The 3D design at the entrance to Kirkgate Market.

“I hope that this eye-catching design will become synonymous with the market, reflecting the vibrancy of the traders that call it home and acting as a marker for Leeds Kirkgate Market as an arts and culture destination.”

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