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Preston artist weaves nod to city’s heritage into new Animate Cinema complex

Posted on - 2nd May, 2024 - 9:00am | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Business, History, Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, Proud Preston, Redevelopment
Bonnie Craig in front of her metal façade cladding design.
Bonnie Craig in front of her metal façade cladding design.

An artist’s homage to the history and culture of Preston has been completed at the city’s £45 million Animate leisure complex which towers over the Market Hall.

Bonnie Craig was commissioned by Maple Grove Developments, the developer delivering the project for Preston City Council, to create a pattern from the Animate’s metal façade cladding.

The cladding wraps around the top of the leisure complex, with a distinctive bronze panel forming a key feature in the design.

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Bonnie also completed the glass artwork at the University of Central Lancashire’s student centre. She took inspiration from the Animate’s location on Tenterfield Street.

She said: “When asked to create designs that explored the area around the Animate site, I was intrigued by the interesting shape and name of Tenterfield Street, as well as the art-deco style design of Lancastria House on one corner of the street.

“I developed a simple shape based on the tenterhook and the street itself. The motif repeats over the metal panels in a grid pattern inspired by the windows, interior wall panels and stonework used in Lancastria House and aims to explore the idea of tension – created in both the tenter frames and the meaning of ‘on tenterhooks’ – and resolution/visual balance.”

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Bonnie Craig with the various parties involved in delivering Animate.
Bonnie Craig (centre) with the various parties involved in delivering Animate.

The leisure centre is one of six major projects planned under the Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme.

The build and management of the scheme is being overseen by Maple Grove Developments.

Sarah Threlfall, deputy chief executive of Preston City Council, said: “Key to the development of Animate was ensuring acknowledgement of the site’s former use and by commissioning Bonnie, a well-respected Lancastrian artist, we knew she’d produce a striking modern design to echo the city’s heritage. 

“Animate proves the commitment of the city council to employing local talent and skills as we strive to make Preston a unique and creative place for everyone to enjoy.”

Due to open in early 2025 the Animate cinema will be an eight-screen cinema, 16-lane bowling alley, gaming zone, five family restaurants, a food hall and also include a new 164-space car park.

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