Leeds Graduate Artist Selected to Transform The Queens Hotel Windows

After undergoing a £16million transformation, The Queens Hotel Leeds is open to visitors once again. To commemorate the rich history of the hotel and celebrate its new look, Leeds based illustrator, Ekaterina Sheath, has been selected to transform the hotel window cabinets in the concourse of Leeds railway station.

Celebrating over 80 years in the city, The Queens Hotel has a rich and iconic history. Situated in City Square at the heart of Leeds, the modernised hotel has been transformed with a sympathetic restoration that plays to the new way people are using city-centre spaces for coworking and socialising. 

Part of the refurbishment includes transforming two window cabinets that face into the concourse of Leeds station. Earlier this year, The Queens Hotel joined forces with Leeds Art University, offering students the chance to have their work displayed within the cabinets. The aim of the project is to commemorate the new whilst celebrating the old, as reflected throughout the renovation process of The Queens Hotel. 

Those entering were asked to consider the history of the hotel building, its Yorkshire location, community, and the culture of Leeds itself, with graduate student, Ekaterina Sheath, being selected as the winner by a panel of judges.  

Ekaterina’s unique design concept features a past and present design of the hotel bar, which is now managed by Grand Pacific, versus how it looked in the roaring Art Deco era of the 1930s. 

The installation is set to be unveiled in late October, where guests of the hotel and those passing through Leeds station will get to appreciate Ekaterina’s work.

Ekaterina comments: “I am so excited to be working on this design for The Queens Hotel. It is a great opportunity to use contemporary illustration as a tool to encourage public engagement with local heritage, while further contributing to the public art scene in Leeds. The new refurbishment is stunning and it’s wonderful to see so much of the original architecture preserved. 

“I love looking at old photographs — spotting what has changed, what buildings still remain, what people used to wear. The Queens Hotel is no different. When I stumbled across old archival photographs of the hotel it sparked an idea. I wanted to celebrate the new refurbishment while commemorating the hotel’s heritage. My design aims to transport the viewer back in time while also looking forward to the new changes.

“I see illustration as a way to celebrate hidden stories and experience local spaces as a cultural asset. I enjoy working with community projects and social organisations to produce illustrations that are both colourful and educational.

“Every element within my design has a direct link to the hotel. One of the window designs will depict the bar is set in 1937 (when the hotel was first built) and the other half will show how it looks today in 2021 with the opening of Grand Pacific. All the characters are inspired by people who walked past while I was drawing at the hotel. On-location drawing encourages me to constantly seek new ways to be more representative in my work. I aim to celebrate diversity by depicting our multicultural community through positive illustrations.”

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