A former furniture showroom, nightclub and 137-year old Lancaster landmark has been immortalised by the celebrated Lancastrian artist Chas Jacobs.
Lancaster-based student accommodation provider CityBlock commissioned the artwork earlier this year to depict its latest development – Gillows – in Chas’s bold, colourful style.
A scaled-up version of the artwork will be printed on vinyl and installed as a permanent feature in CityBlock Gillows’ private dining windows. The artwork will be visible to passers-by on North Road.
The original painting has been framed and will be on display at CityBlock’s Head Office in Lancaster, alongside original sketches.
Gillows is CityBlock’s latest purpose-built student accommodation development nearing completion. The former Gillows furniture showroom on North Road was originally built in 1882. The Grade II listed building retains many of its original features including stained glass windows, original pillars and a stunning staircase which was constructed by the original furniture makers, Waring and Gillow.
Trevor Bargh, CEO of CityBlock, said: “As part of our sensitive restoration and redevelopment of Gillows, we were keen to celebrate Lancaster’s past and present with a unique piece of art – and there couldn’t be a more suitable artist. Chas is very well known and loved across Lancashire and we were delighted when he agreed to take on our brief and paint the Gillows building in the context of the city.
“The work will add a further splash of colour to one of Lancaster’s much-loved heritage buildings and I’m sure our students, locals and visitors alike will take great pleasure in seeing it on display.”
Speaking of his work, Chas Jacobs, said: “In my former life as an electrician, I actually wired the Sugarhouse music venue which is behind Gillows. It’s been a real pleasure to return to the site and paint Gillows specially for this project. While I usually paint in very bright acrylics, this has been something of a departure for me, with much darker hues used to capture the industrial scene and combine it with a modern-day slant.
“I’m humbled by the fact this painting will be on display outside the building. It’s a well-known local landmark and it’s absolutely fantastic to play a part in its redevelopment. I hope the students will like it!”
The accommodation, which will see the first students arrive in September, comprises 96 en-suite bedrooms in a mix of cluster flats, which share large communal, contemporary living spaces and kitchens, along with a self-contained loft and studio apartments.
The onsite facilities include outside garden space, communal lounge with large screen TV’s, pool table, private dining room and a quiet study space.
News of the artwork follows the recent announcement that the ground floor commercial unit at Gillows has been let to Papa John’s Pizza, which will open in the coming weeks.