Location: Leeds, United Kingdom

Completion date: 2021

Project Team


Juanjo Novella


Simon Armitage


The prestigious University of Leeds creates the new Esther Simpson building at its west entrance.
For this reason, this sculpture was created, a landmark at the University entrance and an outstanding element of the building that houses, among others, a coffe shop and a library. There is an electrical substation that makes the landscape ugly, this sculpture acts as a curtain that hides it. The sculpture is based on a set of meanings on the leaf, notebook leaf, tree leaf and “to leaf as to learn”
This text is by Simon Armitage a well known english poet.


I wanted to integrate in a single open voice the following elements that were present in the place.
1- Creation of a landmark at the West entrance as well as a noble element of the new building.
2- Hide a power station that visually damaged the entire environment.
3- Generate a human landscape, a meeting place, emphasize a place.
4- Respect for the place, The pages of the notebook create a link with the school activity, the sycamore tree in the garden is also represented in the sculpture and this serves as an enhancement background for the tree.
5- Generate a loop of converging meanings, tree leaf, notebook leaves, also leaf as text and Simon Armitage's phrase that invites meditation.


The University of Leeds contacted me about the construction of their new Esther Simpson building. It is one of the main entrances to the campus, in direct contact with the city.
They were concerned about the negative impact that the power plant had on the building and the environment. Limitations and difficulties are always welcome from my point of view as a public art artist.
For this we have had the close collaboration of all those involved in the project, both from the university and from the builders who have facilitated the entire process.
A separate chapter would deserve the collaboration with Simon Armitage, which has been short but tremendously significant, with his phrase TO LEAF IS TO LEARN being a leading element. He was very generous in accepting all my limitations, both physical occupation at work and my desire scope. His contribution was impressive, I am frankly satisfied with it.