An iconic artwork carved into the stonework of the new St Paul’s Place development in Sheffield city centre is now complete.
Loughborough-based Richard Perry, who created the sculptures in the city’s Peace Gardens and who specialises in public art, was commissioned by CTP Ltd and U+I, the developers of the pioneering St Paul’s Place.
Richard has now completed his sculpture, which is inspired by the hidden rivers of Sheffield.
David Topham, the managing director of CTP, ommented: “Richard has created a sculpture that is part of the sandstone wall, flanking the base of the office building by the Charles Street steps and Arundel Gate. He has done a wonderful job, complementing the distinctive character of St Paul’s Place and helping to signpost it as one of the city’s great new buildings”.
Lynda Mather of project managers Prosurv said: “The original brief to Richard was to consider the history of the site – the iron ore and coal workings and he developed this into thinking more about the flow of water, natural geology seams and so on.
“It’s fascinating to see how Richard has created the carving in the stone wall – going from drawing pencil lines on the stone, then using a small electric hand-saw to carve the circular shapes and then adding the fine detail by hand.”
Richard Perry said: “The idea is inspired by the “hidden rivers” of Sheffield, creating a form with a fluid flow emulating the passage of pedestrians coming down the stairs from St Paul’s Place. I have taken flow, weir, strata, journey and movement as themes, and have created a point of focus to the corner of the building with an “eddy”.
“The gradient and the physical properties of the site are taken into account by echoing the large stepped elements in front of the wall with allusion to weirs. The focal point at the corner of the main elevation is inspired by a sense of travel around one elevation to the next, alluding to the way water courses form eddies when flowing against an edge or bank and when changing direction abruptly.
“The artwork has a subtle harmony and an integral feel, a sense that the carved relief is emanating from the wall. This is in part achieved by the carving petering out top and bottom and by the subtle grading of relief depths, becoming seen and unseen. Carving through the from the wall.
“I was part of the collaborative design team for the regeneration of The Peace Gardens. I designed the stonework and led a team of carvers, spending some time hand carving on site in Sheffield. I also made the bronze sculpture of Thomas Boulsover in Tudor Square,” he explained.
He added: “I like the building I have been working on, I like its elegance and the way the three St Paul’s Place buildings are massed.”
Coun Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “It’s great to see Richard working in Sheffield once again just around the corner from where he created the stonework in the wonderful Peace Gardens.
“The quality ofjoints of the stonework gives a further sense of integration and gives a mysterious feel of the work emerging stone carving in the Peace Gardens really contributes to why people love it and this new sculpture bears all of his signature touches.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the developers of this fantastic contemporary building for enabling this great craftsman to explore Sheffield’s hidden rivers in this new piece.
“Public art in Sheffield has contributed to the craft and material quality of many developments and I am thrilled to see this link continuing.”
3 St Paul’s Place is the first office building in Sheffield to be speculatively developed since the recession.
The ten-storey, state-of-the-art office development, which comprises 78,000 sq. ft. of prime Grade A office space with each 8,000 sq. ft. floor offering offices suites from 2,000 sq. ft, is now ready for immediate occupation.
The construction of 3 St Paul’s Place, which is rated as BREEAM excellent, went ahead following a landmark agreement between developers CTP and U+I (formerly Development Securities) with Sheffield City Council and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
David Topham said: “These are now exciting times for St Paul’s Place, which is an established high-quality office location in the heart of Sheffield. The building marks the revival of confidence in Sheffield city centre and Arup, our first occupiers, have moved in and are very happy there.”