'Making a Stand' is a new, temporary artwork that has been installed in Leeds City Square as part of the Leeds City of Culture Festival 2023. Designed by Michael Pinksy and Studio Bark, it is a 'forest' of 127 seven metre high timber fins. Inspired by the origins of Leeds as a wooded area called Leodis, it is also a comment on the construction industry's use of carbon-intensive materials like concrete and steel, which could be replaced by more sustainable alternatives including timber. Wood-frame buildings were common in the past and are now only really associated with a few high-end residential buildings.
'Making a Stand serves as a reminder of the climate crisis and that we have been able to live symbiotically with nature for centuries – this city is even named after the ancient forest upon which it is built. We can do this again, as long as we channel our astonishing technical ingenuity towards an ecologically focused future.'
Whilst the artwork is impressive, I'd far rather have the usual open-space so that you can see the surrounding buildings, which are a mix of new (concrete, steel and glass) skyscrapers and renovated older buildings (some dramatically redesigned with modern additions like the building below that houses Channel 4 TV studios). I do take the point that we need to be thinking much more in terms of what is sustainable and environmentally friendly and making faster progress in that direction. Leeds currently is an absolute mass (mess?) of building work, huge cranes everywhere. I wonder whether the new builds will have the longevity of some of the Victorian buildings.