As the UK City of Culture 2017, Hull has been gearing up for a busy year, preparing to deliver 365 days of cultural activity. The government-backed initiative is awarded to a city for the period of one year and aims to deliver social and economic benefits by helping to attract more visitors, increase media interest and change perceptions.

The brief

Last year, Hull City Council unveiled its plans for the first £21m phase of its large-scale city centre transformation with stunning designs that would maximise the city’s unique character and heritage. Spanning from Queen Victoria Square to the Fruit Market, the vision was to enable visitors to admire the grand architecture illuminated on the skyline.


Working with the Council, Re-Form Landscape Architects and contractors, Eurovia, Hardscape were tasked with delivering high quality hard landscaping solutions suitable for the large-scale and logistically challenging project.

The aim was to unlock the full potential of the area and provide an attractive and inviting public space where local residents, businesses and tourists could thrive while living up to its new cultural title.

Materials Used

Magma granite was chosen for its ability to withstand the heavy footfall of pedestrian traffic and was used to cover an expansive area of 40,000m squared. Chosen in warm buff multi-toned colours, it provides a welcoming feel to the area.

In some areas, darker tones of the granite were laid as a subtle paving band amid the larger areas of lighter Magma, creating striking detail.

A fantastic 15,000m squared of Kellen Lavaro in Paars, Retro Rood and Grijs aggregate shades were chosen, reflecting the colouring of the surrounding buildings. Beautifully complimenting the traditional architecture and monuments, the paving provides a tasteful contemporary style and Its unique textured surface creates further intrigue.


Striking Italian Prima Porphyry, known for its beautiful large-grained crystals and unique rich colour tones, was selected to cover a 3,000m squared area, further adding to the attractive aesthetics of the site. Its interesting colour mix which forms naturally with rugged edges contrasts beautifully with the sawn edges of the Magma granite and straight edges of the Kellen.

Elements of large artwork will also be manufactured using Hardscape’s Artscape process to feature in the historic Beverley Gate as well as textual poetry etched onto the paving which sits alongside the New Queen Victoria Water Feature.


With a refreshed town centre, Hull is ready to welcome in the New Year as the UK City of Culture 2017. Visitors can explore Hull’s public spaces on a journey of discovery through intimate, civic and panoramic scales and experience the city’s ‘sense of place’.

Managing director at Hardscape, Mathew Haslam said, “This was a truly amazing and rewarding project to be involved with, allowing Hull to really showcase its vibrant culture and spectacular art. We worked hard to advise on and supply the vast amount of bespoke paving and deliver innovative hard landscaping while managing the logistically challenging project.”

The scheme is due to be completed in early 2017 and will include a plethora of hard landscaping features, such as inspirational artwork and beautiful water features – more news to follow soon!