A York-based specialist grass company has collaborated with the artist behind the Leeds pop-up café and public artwork, The Weather Café.
The team at WowGrass transformed the interior of The Weather Café by laying down over 40 square metres of living, soil-free grass throughout the café.
Designed by David Shearing, who specialises in creating immersive multimedia experiences, The Weather Café, occupies a pop up shop on The Headrow in Leeds city centre.
WowGrass development manager, Caroline Littler, said the real grass flooring brings a memorable element to the art installation:
“We’re delighted to work closely with David Shearing to bring this unique artwork to life.”
“Having real grass indoors is very unusual and it’s always something people take notice of and comment on, so we hope it helps the café make a real impact on the people who visit.”
Visitors to The Weather Café can expect to find all weather conditions from fog to sunshine and even rain in the interactive, multimedia art space as it changes to reflect the weather outdoors.
Visitors are served various types of tea, also curated around the weather, and can listen to stories told by the people of Leeds through headphones.
Mr Shearing said The Weather Café provides a community space for people to share their stories and a place to sit and reflect: “We’ve had a few busy days with more people coming to see the artwork than we expected, and even groups that wouldn’t necessarily see artwork.
“I worked with WowGrass last year on a project, so they were my first choice for this installation. Roger Moore from WowGrass came to the shop to advise us on how to use the real grass surface.
“In the café we’re using a special grass that WowGrass recommended to give the appearance of it being weathered. I really like the look it gives to the space.”
Mr Shearing worked with composer James Bulley and creative technologist Daniel Jones to realise the artwork.
He also collaborated with volunteers from Leeds homelessness charity Emmaus, Leeds Young Authors, community arts organisation Artlink and creative programme for the over-55s Heydays.
The project was funded by Leeds City Council and the Arts Council.
WowGrass is produced by growing grass onto a felt mat made from recycled British textiles. It has the look, smell and feel of real grass, but is completely soil-free which means that there’s no mess, it’s stiletto-proof and rolls up when the event is over.
WowGrass has transformed a diverse range of spaces for events and attractions including ‘London’s Village Green’ in Trafalgar Square, the York Minster Rose Dinner and the Topshop Unique SS14 collection during London Fashion Week.