Paper City unfolds at the Fruit Market

Published: Friday 30th June 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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The activity taking place during Hull 2017 is nothing if not wide-ranging. Today sees the opening of Paper City, a showcase by G.F Smith.

Established in Hull in 1885, G.F Smith is a paper specialist that trades all around the world. We spoke to Emily Axten, Director of Brand, to get a feel for this unique exhibition.

“Paper City is our collaboration between Hull 2017 as a commissioning team and two curators, Andrew Knight and Hazel Colquhoun. They’re the people behind Look Up, which has included the astounding Blade and The City Speaks.”


G.F Smith decided that their cultural activity for this year should of course be based around paper, creating a series of installations to be enjoyed by all.

“We recently ran The World’s Favourite Colour,” Emily tells us. “This gave the public the opportunity to vote on their most-loved shade.”

The activity saw thousands of people from over 100 countries take part, with the winner being Annie Marrs from Dundee.

“Annie has been with us this week to help oversee the creation of Paper City, which includes her colour. It’s been named Marrs Green, a very rich teal/emerald shade of blue-green. It’s very vibrant.”


Paper City spreads throughout the Fruit Market until 9th July and can be viewed 9am-6pm. Eight artists from across the UK have designed and built a range of fascinating pieces that are free to view.

“Some are tactile whilst others are more delicate,” says Emily. “Each artist has interpreted the brief in a different way, but using the same medium.”

The results include everything from an outdoor brick wall to an intricate sculptural piece, all made out of paper in clever and eye-catching ways.

Whether you walk down Humber Street, Pier Street, or pop into the building next to C4DI and Nibble, you’ll be sure to spot something incredible.


“All of the artists have used Colorplan, which is a collection of fifty shades for premium uncoated papers and boards,” says Emily.

G.F Smith is a globally significant company, with its products applied to all manner of packaging, greetings cards and paper products.

“85% of our employees are based right here in Hull. It’s an amazingly creative business and we’re delighted to be involved in the UK City of Culture programme.”


With the artists coming from backgrounds as diverse as architecture and ceramics, Paper City really is quite special:

“It runs for ten days,” Emily adds. “Some of the pieces will then relocate to G.F Smith’s London Show Space.” This is housed over two floors on Eastcastle Street, just off Oxford Street.

Celebrating colour and the freedom to play, we highly recommend that you catch Paper City in the Fruit Market while you have the chance.

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Published: Friday 30th June 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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