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Striking Contemporary Murals Unveiled to Celebrate the Opening of £8.7m The Pattern Shop

David Shillinglaw's finished mural (Credit: Ben Hughes at Unit44)

Two eye-catching murals – including one 80-metre expanse – have been unveiled to mark the official opening* of the recently restored The Pattern Shop in Newcastle city centre.

Led by igloo Regeneration in partnership with Newcastle City Council and Thriving Investments, the £8.7 million restoration project has revitalised the Grade II Listed building, once the 19th century workshops of industrial pioneer Robert Stephenson who revolutionised travel with his steam locomotives.

Following two years of careful restoration, The Pattern Shop has been reinvented as a sustainable business centre that will accommodate up to 300 employees once fully occupied.

In recognition of the building’s long industrial legacy, igloo Regeneration wanted to create a visible homage and worked with Newcastle contemporary art gallery, Unit44 to commission two striking murals for the exterior.

In the very place where Stephenson once constructed steam locomotives destined for global export, artists David Shillinglaw and Molly Bland have now created two contemporary murals; one stretching 80 metres over the length of South Street that borders The Pattern Shop and the other on the neighbouring Energy Centre. This marks Bland’s most expansive piece of artwork to date.

Danny Hughes co-owner of Unit44 Gallery said: “This project not only pays homage to Stephenson's groundbreaking work but also symbolises a seamless blend of heritage and contemporary art.

He added: “David is one of those artists we’ve built a relationship with for over a decade. The very fabric and ethos of The Pattern Shop lends itself perfectly to David’s process; a passion for colour, a warm handmade aesthetic but also deeper meaning and reflection upon viewing. It's been a real pleasure to have him draft ideas on this project and then bring them to life.

Reflecting on her work – her largest to date - Molly added:When I create my designs, I use a collage method pinched from one of my favourite artists, Henri Matisse, which he called drawing with scissors. I cut out lots of shapes and spend a lot of time rearranging them until I’m happy with the outcome. I hope that the mural will brighten up the day for passersby and perhaps spark a bit of curiosity about The Pattern Shop - the artwork only hints at the context of the building so ideally it will invite people in and inspire them to learn more about the heritage.

Both murals are expected to remain in situ for several years as the wider area, which is part of the £137million Founders Place regeneration scheme, continues its own redevelopment journey.

For more information about The Pattern Shop visit

Image: David Shillinglaw's finished mural (Credit: Ben Hughes at Unit44)

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