Leeds graduate voted to redesign first direct arena bar

Aspiring interior designer and design graduate, Kyle Minnock, has won first direct’s competition to redesign its bar at the first direct arena, after his design idea received the majority of votes by first direct staff and the public.

The 22-year-old interior architecture graduate – currently working as an assistant at a Leeds-based design studio – now begins a unique work experience to make his ideas become reality at the arena with first direct’s design team, which is due to be completed by October.

Arena sponsor first direct asked entrants of the competition – which ran on social media network Tumblr– to share their ideas of what the bar should look like, taking inspiration from the city of Leeds and what makes it “unexpected” to them.  

After facing a challenging expert judging panel made up of first direct chief executive Tracy Garrad, sales & marketing director at first direct arena, Tony Watson, interior design blogger Carole King and Leeds Retail Association founder David Laycock, five shortlisted entrants went to a public vote, where Kyle was chosen as their winner.

Kyle’s design concept took inspiration from the heart of Leeds, celebrating the strong music and artistic presence felt throughout the city, as well as elements from the industrial buildings around the outskirts of Leeds.

On his win, Kyle said:

“Leeds is a lovable city with its vibrant and eclectic music scene. 

“Developments are popping up all over the city at the moment and it has so much to offer. 

“When I saw the competition, I just couldn’t resist entering – for the challenge, the city and my career progression.

“It was a huge surprise to have won and feedback from the expert panel has been quite overwhelming. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and my future as an interior architecture graduate.”

Tracy Garrad, chief executive of first direct, said:

“The aim of the competition was to give the people of Leeds the chance to get involved and make their artistic mark on the city’s iconic venue and we’re delighted that the opportunity has gone to someone as passionate about creative design and our city as Kyle. 

“Kyle’s design concept represents Leeds and the first direct brand perfectly and adds that ‘unexpected’ element which first direct is built upon.

“We can’t wait to work together and bring Kyle’s winning ideas to life, and we hope that everyone who visits first direct arena enjoys the new, creative surroundings.”

Kyle added:

“It has been my dream to walk into a commercial space that I have designed and witness the public using what I helped to create, so I can’t wait to see my ideas transformed into reality.

“I am looking forward to helping the arena design team make it happen.

“It’s amazing how much it will change in such a short space of time, but I’m assured by the team it will all happen in time!”

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Kyle Minnock with his winning design “mood board” on an iPad

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