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A cat on a building
Image: Marketing Sheffield

Giant animated creatures are taking over the rooftops of this British city

It’s giving Pokémon Go... but better

Written by
Megan Geall

As surprising as it sounds, one of the world’s biggest augmented-reality art trails has just launched in Sheffield – and it’s looking pretty exciting. In a similar concept to Pokémon Go, people across the city can scan QR codes near iconic buildings and watch as animated creatures and artistic figures pop up on the roofs.

The trail is called ‘Look Up!’ and includes QR codes on four buildings including the former John Lewis, the Central Library, Sheffield Hallam University building and the Faculty of Engineering at the university. Organised by Marketing Sheffield, the aim of the project is to bring a little excitement to the city following the close of John Lewis when the pandemic hit, and to make the subsequent construction work look a little less, well, like construction work.

Enter Hank, a huge grey cat that slowly emerges on the roof of the library, peering down at you as you look at the building through your phone screen. The app has had a pretty paw-sitive reaction so far (sorry not sorry). In the first week of the launch, more than 1,500 people had downloaded the app, almost 2,000 QR codes had been scanned and Sheffield’s skyline had become home to a variety of animated artworks, all created by two local companies, Universal Everything and Human Studio.

The team behind the project, Marketing Sheffield, have hopes to expand the art trail to include more buildings soon. On their website, the team write that they wish to ‘celebrate all that is great about Sheffield makers for the whole world to see’, supporting independent business and re-engaging residents with life in the city centre. That’s one way to do it, right? 

ICYMI: You can now take a private plane tour of the Lake District.

Plus: The UK’s biggest art prize is coming to to this underrate seaside town.

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