Following its £16million transformation, The Queens Hotel in Leeds has unveiled a new art installation window display, created by Leeds based illustrator, Ekaterina Sheath.
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 commemorates both the history of the hotel and celebrates its new look.
Part of the refurbishment included 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 recent BA (Hons) Illustration graduate, Ekaterina Sheath, being selected as the winner by a panel of judges.
Ekaterina’s unique design concept features two past and present designs of the modern-day hotel versus how it looked in the roaring Art Deco era of the 1930s. The two designs feature the hotels’ new Grand Pacific bar and the iconic hotel lifts.
The installation is now complete for guests of the hotel and those passing through Leeds Station to view the display and appreciate Ekaterina’s work.
Ekaterina comments: “I am so excited to finally unveil the window display for The Queens Hotel. This was 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. The aim of my designs is 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 depicts the bar set in 1937 (when the hotel was first built) and the other half shows how it looks today in 2021 as Grand Pacific. All the characters were 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.”
Alistair Campbell, General Manager of The Queens Hotel Leeds, comments: “When we were judging the different entries, we were so excited when we first saw Ekaterina’s concept. We love how it transcends through time, beautifully highlighting the hotel’s culture through past and present.
“Ekaterina’s design really hit the brief of showcasing the history of the hotel yet a look forward to the future with a buzzing city and strong community. We are incredibly impressed with Ekaterina’s finished design and are so pleased that hundreds of people will get to appreciate the talent Leeds has to offer every day.”
For more information on The Queens Hotel Leeds, visit: www.thequeensleeds.co.uk