An extensive piece of artwork by a renowned post-war sculptor and artist was unveiled at the official opening of Croydon’s newest residential development last night.

William Mitchell's artwork was rediscovered when work began on refurbishing the Leon House, a former modernist-designed office block, where it had been hidden for over a decade.

Originally commissioned by architects Tribich, Liefer & Starkin in the late 60s, the concrete sculpture takes its form on the building’s principal structural column and will now take pride of place in the reception lobby.

Sitting alongside the William Mitchell sculptural work is an original commissioned piece of art by Riccardo Paternò Castello, entitled View of Croydon.

The mixed media cityscape, as seen from Leon House, is displayed over nine separate canvases.

The event was attended by a number of VIPs including commissioned artist Riccardo Castello, with Croydon Councillor Toni Letts officiating the formal unveiling and opening.

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Riccardo Castello in front of his work

Ward Councillor Toni Letts said: “Leon House rises tall and proud and is providing high quality stunning homes each with amazing space. The innovative approach throughout the tower gives open space for the residents to meet and children to play.

"Having met some of the residents who are thrilled with their new home, I congratulate FI Real Estate Management for creating homes with great views whether you are looking out across the town centre or towards the amazing green fields and woods in the south of the Borough.”

Art historian Dr Dawn Pereira Ph.D, who is a research fellow at The Henry Moore Institute said: “William Mitchell’s concrete artworks at Leon House capture the skill and versatility of his craft; from the spectacular technical feat of the structural deep relief columns running through the two lower floors, to the subtle cast repeat patterns in every lift lobby level, to the unique hand-carved works in each staircase.

"With much of Mitchell’s work inspired by ancient civilisations, their rediscovery seems like we have found something from long ago; yet their reinstatement feels modern, enabling us all to share in their tactility and originality.”

Located in the heart of Croydon, Leon House is an example of modernist architecture. Its conversion into 263 spacious, light-filled one and two bedroom apartments is nearing completion.

A spokesperson from FI Real Estate Management said:

“We were pretty surprised when we began the refurbishment works on site to discover this huge artwork.

After speaking to art experts and local historians we realised the significance of the William Mitchell sculpture and began carefully uncovering it in order to restore it to its former glory.

"We worked with our interior designer to incorporate it into the design of the lobby and it is an absolute pleasure to be able to finally formally unveil it."