Giant Panda at New Era Square Rooftop

A giant panda sculpture was installed at New Era Square – the £66 million modern Asia-inspired development at St Mary’s Gate and Yorkshire’s newest public space.

Part of the site’s wider art installation, the largest panda, which is an impressive four metres high, has been mounted on the rooftop corner of New Era Square’s core office building.

Giant Panda in the air

The panda is a symbol for friendship and peace in Chinese culture, and the joyful display is now clearly visible to Sheffield’s public when approaching from the city centre or driving by on the ring road.


The scheme’s construction contractor, Bowmer + Kirkland, were given the delicate task of hoisting the panda, which weighs a whopping 1,350kg – about the same as a car – onto its new rooftop home. The panda’s final resting point is over 97 metres from the ground.

Bowmer + Kirkland’s Regional Director, Christian Parnell, commented:

“The New Era Square scheme has been a major project for us since we started on site in November 2015. I’d like to think that the entire project team, including our client, have become friends and it is fitting, therefore, that the final part of the scheme is to lift the panda,  symbol of friendship, onto the roof of the building. It has been a privilege to be involved with this development.”

The main panda, along with two smaller pandas – one clambering up the side of a pillar and one resting on a bench – is the creation of David Wei of Hatch Architects. A UK-qualified architect, Wei is renowned for producing visually inspiring art works for flagship Chinese developments.

Upon arriving in the UK last month, the panda was then fabricated by local Sheffield firm Campbell Design and Engineering Ltd.

Jerry Cheung and Rongmin Qin, Directors at New Era Development (UK) Ltd

Rongmin Qin, Executive Director at New Era Developments, said:

“With New Era Square, our ambition has always been to deliver a true example of what modern Asia has to offer. Going far beyond the classic China Town experience in the UK, the development marries the excitement and dynamism of modern Asia with the best of Western culture.

“We also wanted to create something special for the city of Sheffield. Now more than ever, we are seeing the important role that open public spaces within our busy urban environment play in our mental health and wellbeing. We believe that New Era Square and its bold art installations is truly unique in the UK and complements Sheffield’s creative personality perfectly.

“It’s an iconic new landmark for residents and visitors.”

Finishing touches are currently being added to the square, which supports the long-term aim to better connect London Road with the City Centre. The development also features a mix of quality office space, apartments, contemporary restaurant and retail units, and an 83-space underground car park.

Panda art installation set to complete ‘iconic’ New Era Square

A selection of striking panda sculptures, which are to be installed within the £66mmodern Asia-inspired district New Era, are set to arrive in Sheffield THIS week.

Striking Panda Sculptures

The New Era development – which will comprise new apartments, Grade A office space and a vibrant, cosmopolitan food offer – is nearing completion and three pandas are to be installed in the public square at the heart of the scheme. The larger than life sculptures will inject significant cultural interest into the site and help New Era establish itself as a unique ‘go-to destination’.

The New Era pandas are inspired by a giant panda art installation on the side of a shopping centre in Sheffield’s sister city of Chengdu in China. Although smaller in scale, the largest will still be approximately the size of an SUV car and will boast the same stylish geometric design.

The primary art installation will see the biggest panda – four metres high and weighing 1,350kg – sitting on the corner of the New Era roof. This eye-catching display will be clearly visible when approaching from the city centre and to those passing it on the ring road.

Elsewhere on the site, a one-metre panda will be climbing up one of the building’s pillars, while another will be sat eating bamboo on the square’s elegant bench seating.

In addition to the pandas, a two-metre-tall, mirror Stainless Steel deer will complete the art installation – situated by the primary building entrance.

Once securely on site at New Era, the installation of the sculptures will begin, with completion expected to coincide with the square’s opening.

New Era developer Jerry Cheung commissioned designer David Wei to create the pandas.

“What Jerry and his team at New Era are doing is exceptional in the UK,” said David, A UK-qualified architect and co-founder of Hatch Architects.

“This will probably be the first true example of a destination based on modern Asia in the country.”

Jerry Cheung, Managing Director of New Era Developments, added:

“Our intention has always been to create something special for Sheffield and the wider city region. New Era will deliver a flavour of the excitement, dynamism and energy of modern East Asia, married with the best of Western culture.

“The public square sits at the very heart of our plans. Now more than ever, we are seeing the important role that open spaces within a busy urban environment play in our general wellbeing.

“The inclusion of the panda sculptures aligns perfectly with the city’s originality and fun, creative nature. We are confident that New Era Square will become an iconic and landmark destination in Sheffield and even the UK.”

Once completed this summer, the wider New Era development will incorporate Grade A office space – including offices for the China-UK Business Incubator (CUBI) – and quality places for food and drink.

A total of 686 student apartments and several private apartments are already complete and occupied, while a large oriental supermarket and OISOI, Sheffield’s premier Asian restaurant brand, have already opened.