A citywide commission has been launched 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.

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