Clock starts ticking on Tour de France countdown commission

Caption: Trinity Leeds will host the winning clock commission (image courtesy of Leeds and Partners)

A citywide commission has been launched today to design a unique clock which will help Leeds count down to the start of this year’s Tour de France.

Leeds City Council, in partnership with the Trinity Leeds shopping complex and the University of Leeds, is calling on the city’s creative community to submit designs for a public countdown clock to mark the days ticking down to the start of the world’s largest annual sporting event in Leeds on Saturday 5 July.

Working with students from the University of Leeds School of Mechanical Engineering, the winning entry will be turned into reality and placed in Trinity Leeds to be a focal point as Leeds builds towards the day of the Grand Départ.

Entries are now open, with the design brief able to be downloaded from http://www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/Tour-de-France.aspx or by request by emailing granddepartleeds@leeds.gov.uk.

The closing date for designs is Friday 7 February 2014 at 5.30pm and a shortlist of designers will be announced the following week. The commissioned designer will work with the University of Leeds staff and students to develop the detailed technical drawings and design the mechanisms to fit the design.

The completed clock will then be unveiled in the Trinity Leeds shopping complex in Leeds city centre on Thursday 27 March, coinciding with 100 days to go to the Grand Départ and the start of the Yorkshire Festival 2014 celebrating the best of culture and the arts in the county.

Running alongside the commission, a design competition will also be open to schools, colleges and others to share their designs for a countdown clock with those entries featuring in an exhibition to be held in Leeds in the run-up to the Tour.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Lucinda Yeadon said:

“The creative community in Leeds is thriving with designers, makers, architects and artists at the cutting edge of their field. This competition offers an opportunity to spotlight and celebrate the creative talent we have and create a striking, visual reminder building excitement towards the Tour de France Grand Départ. We want to encourage people to come forward with the most innovative and imaginative designs they can to help us mark this incredible event.”

Gerald Jennings, Portfolio Director at Land Securities, the developer behind the Trinity Leeds shopping complex, said:

“The Tour de France itself is one of the largest sporting events in the world, drawing a huge crowd of spectators and visitors to the city. It is sure to be an amazing time for the city and the wider Yorkshire region. Trinity Leeds and Land Securities are proud to play a role in helping celebrate the Grand Départ.”

Senior Teaching Fellow at the School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds Dan Trowsdale said:

“We’re really excited about this commission. The Tour de France in Leeds is a once in a lifetime event and for our engineering and product design students to be able to play a part in that is a fantastic opportunity, and a great way to celebrate the city’s young talent at the same time.”

The commission brief can be downloaded at http://www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/Tour-de-France.aspx or is available upon request by emailing granddepartleeds@leeds.gov.uk. The closing date for designs is Friday 7 February 2014 at 5.30pm.

Notes to editors:
• Leeds is the host city for the official Tour de France Grand Départ taking place on the July 5 2014. The first stages of the Tour de France are expected to be watched by an international audience of more than three billion people, and a further one million visitors are expected over the weekend of the July 5 to watch Stage 1 of the race.

• Trinity Leeds is an 817,000sq ft retail development at the heart of Leeds city centre. The development opened in March 2013 and has made a number of contributions to the cultural sector included two new permanent large-scale public art commissions as part of the development.

• University of Leeds’ Faculty of Mechanical Engineering focuses on disciplines including product design, mechatronics and robotics, and automotive engineering. The faculty was responsible for the creation of the 2012 Olympic Countdown Clock commissioned as an internal university project.

• Yorkshire Festival 2014 is a 100-day festival of culture and arts leading to the official Grand Départ in Leeds on Saturday 5 July. The festival will take place across the Yorkshire region with a mix of major art commissions and events throughout the 100-day build-up. For more information visit www.letour.yorkshire.com/cultural-festival


Contact information:

For further details related to the countdown commission contact Leanne Buchan at Leeds City Council on 0113 24 78919 or email Leanne.buchan@leeds.gov.uk

For media queries regarding the Tour de France Grand Départ in Leeds contact Roger Boyde, Senior Communications Officer, Leeds City Council at Roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk