Revealing Castleward: New public art work unveiled in Derby city centre

The developer behind Derby’s £100 million Castleward project has revealed a series of visually engaging sculptures that are sited in the city centre’s new public space.

The collection of 19 stainless steel and bronze ‘art chairs’, created by artists Denis O’Connor and Bernadine Rutter of Sculpture Works, were commissioned by housebuilder Compendium Living, to give the area a new identity, creating a visual trail for residents, visitors and commuters.

Situated in the new public space on Liversage Square, the artwork titled Revealing Castleward makes reference to the city’s industrial hub and the working community from the area. The ‘art chairs’ which range from 400mm to 3.5 meters in height, also reflects a range of diverse trades that historically operated in the Castleward area; from the silk weaving industry, to printing, bookbinding and engineering.

Denis, who is based in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, specialises in the design and fabrication of site-specific ‘landmark’ steel sculptures. He said: “We were interested in revealing the industrial origins of the site and the ‘traceries’ of a forgotten period in Derby’s industrial heritage and how it influenced the growth of the city. The intention for the artwork is to establish a strong visual narrative, inviting the audience to interact with and investigate the physical artworks. The idea behind the chair also symbolised people’s homes now and then.”

Bernie, who undertook the research for the project, said: “We would like to say a big thank you to the many local and regional organisations and interested individuals who we were able to help find maps, artefacts, photos and tools to inspire the work. These included: Derby Museums Trust, Crich Tramway Museum, Macclesfield Silk Museums, TATHS, Derby Heritage Forum, Derby Telegraph, Derby Local Studies Library, Picture the Past, Derby City Council, Derby University, QUAD, Castle Nursery School and Headway.”

 “A collection of industrial objects from scissors to wooden mallets have been incorporated into the base of each chair. The ‘Cordwainer’ chair reflects the leather/ shoe making industry and the ‘Bookbinder’ chair echoes the craftsmanship of Bemrose & Sons Printers and Bookbinders, whose large premises was an important part of Castleward’s history.”

Dave Bullock, Managing Director at Compendium Living, said: “Incorporating historical artefacts into the design of the sculptures has helped people feel more connected to the city’s traditions, as well as creating an eye-catching and welcoming place to walk by.

“Over the next few months further sculptures will be added to the area and along the boulevard.”

Sculpture Works has previously produced work for a variety of public and private organisations such as the City Council of Cardiff, Belfast, Leicester, Newcastle, Cork, Derby, Stoke-on-Trent as well as organisations such as Burghley Sculpture Trust, Royal Mail, British Airways and the National Trust.

Phase one of Castleward features 164 new homes, including two, three and four-bedroom homes and two-bedroom apartments, a boulevard and a park.

For more information on the homes available at Castleward, visit the marketing suite, open every day from 10am to 5pm or alternatively call, 01332 426156 or go to   You can also search for us on Facebook at Compendium Living, or on Twitter @CompendLiving,

Our Partners

Compendium Living is a development company set up and jointly owned by Lovell Partnerships & The Riverside Group.