A selection of striking panda sculptures, which are to be installed within the £66m modern Asia-inspired district New Era, are set to arrive in Sheffield this week.
The New Era development – which will comprise new apartments, Grade A office space and a vibrant, cosmopolitan food offer – is nearing completion and three pandas are to be installed in the public square at the heart of the scheme.
The larger than life sculptures will inject significant cultural interest into the site and help New Era establish itself as a unique ‘go-to destination’.
The New Era pandas are inspired by a giant panda art installation on the side of a shopping centre in Sheffield’s sister city of Chengdu in China. Although smaller in scale, the largest will still be approximately the size of an SUV car and will boast the same stylish geometric design.
The primary art installation will see the biggest panda – four metres high and weighing 1,350kg – sitting on the corner of the New Era roof. This eye-catching display will be clearly visible when approaching from the city centre and to those passing it on the ring road.
Elsewhere on the site, a one-metre panda will be climbing up one of the building’s pillars, while another will be sat eating bamboo on the square’s elegant bench seating.
In addition to the pandas, a two-metre-tall, mirror Stainless Steel deer will complete the art installation – situated by the primary building entrance.
Once securely on site at New Era, the installation of the sculptures will begin, with completion expected to coincide with the square’s opening.
New Era developer Jerry Cheung commissioned designer David Wei to create the pandas.
“What Jerry and his team at New Era are doing is exceptional in the UK,” said David, A UK-qualified architect and co-founder of Hatch Architects.
“This will probably be the first true example of a destination based on modern Asia in the country.”
Jerry Cheung, Managing Director of New Era Developments, added: “Our intention has always been to create something special for Sheffield and the wider city region. New Era will deliver a flavour of the excitement, dynamism and energy of modern East Asia, married with the best of Western culture.
“The public square sits at the very heart of our plans. Now more than ever, we are seeing the important role that open spaces within a busy urban environment play in our general wellbeing.
“The inclusion of the panda sculptures aligns perfectly with the city’s originality and fun, creative nature. We are confident that New Era Square will become an iconic and landmark destination in Sheffield and even the UK.”
Once completed this summer, the wider New Era development will incorporate Grade A office space – including offices for the China-UK Business Incubator (CUBI) – and quality places for food and drink.
A total of 686 student apartments and several private apartments are already complete and occupied, while a large oriental supermarket and OISOI, Sheffield’s premier Asian restaurant brand, have already opened.