Member Article

80-m inflatable sculpture brought to Majestic in bid to encourage people to re-engage with physical space

Rushbond has commissioned a renowned local artist to create a bespoke, fluorescent, 80-metre sculpture within the flagship office building, the Majestic.

The building, nestled in the heart of Leeds on City Square, recently reached completion and is set to become home to Channel 4 and Knights plc in 2021.

The Leeds-based developer has turned to renowned sculptor Michael Shaw – who was educated at Leeds Metropolitan University, now Leeds Beckett – to build and install a bespoke sculpture on the ground floor of the iconic building.

The yellow-and-pink installation, titled ‘U’, is intended to provoke how people interact with ‘real’ space following the pandemic and a shift to digital communication.

Georgina Maud, head of arts and creative development at Rushbond, said: “There are a number of reasons why we felt now was the right time to commission Michael Shaw to showcase back in Leeds.

“It has been a challenging time for the arts and culture sector. Giving artists and creators access to a visible platform has never been so important. This installation provides a tangible opportunity to spotlight and support the talent in this phenomenal community - a community that is fundamentally interwoven with the success and vibrancy of Leeds as a dynamic city.

“We’ve all spent a lot of time this year situated in the same place, experiencing a similar daily routine, and engaging less with the environments outside of our four walls. This really does challenge our abilities to create and to be creative. This installation is a reminder of how engaging and inspiring a physical space can be, and how visual art can catapult creativity and creative thinking – looking to a time when people in the city can safely and playfully reconnect with their wider physical environment.

“Our mission with the Majestic has been to bring forward a building that provides a platform for creativity; to support an inherently creative environment which fosters collaboration and stimulates imagination, and provides a space which is reflective of the city’s ambition.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with Michael’s vision and the way the piece has turned out. We’d like to extend our gratitude to him for creating such a thought-provoking and visually striking addition to the building.”

Artist Michael Shaw commented: “I am delighted to have had the opportunity to respond to the iconic architecture of the Majestic, which along with Bridge House is the Leeds equivalent to New York’s Flatiron building.

“U will hopefully create 3 different kinds of visual feast as it responds to changing natural and electric light through the day; lit by daylight, before dusk and early evening accentuate the internal lights. Then, after hours it switches to UV and a ‘glow in the dark’ nightclub aura.

“U is an 80m slithering luminous riot of tubular fluorescent colour, which shifts from pink to yellow over its length. However, to see this, viewers must look from both sides of the building’s pavement.”

“I hope U strikes a dynamic presence – a living, breathing, visual cherry on the icing of the Majestic’s recently completed renewal by Rushbond.”

The inflatable sculpture will be powered by several fans causing it to oscillate – which will give the impression that it is a living, breathing object inhabiting the space.

Michael’s works have featured in exhibitions across the world, including at Glastonbury Festival, in the Tate Modern, in Stuttgart and Los Angeles. His sculpture output is closely linked to architecture, with Michael known for creating ‘site-specific responses’ to buildings which consider them as moulds that form and inform his work’s geometry.

JLL and Knight Frank are joint leasing agents on the remaining space available within the Majestic.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Emily Hallinan .

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