Premier Hospitality

Emerald Headingley Stadium Redevelopment

Headingley Stadium
Written by Roma Publications

Emerald Headingley Stadium Redevelopment

Emerald Headingley Stadium, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and both Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Carnegie rugby teams, recently started work on its 20 year redevelopment plan. Costing £50 million, the expansion will safeguard the ground’s status as an international venue.

The project was drawn up between Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Leeds City Council, Leeds Rugby and DLA Architecture, and will see the ground’s capacity increased from 17,090 to 20,362. The redevelopment consists of six phases.

Once complete, the stadium will feature a new progressive pavilion, as well as a shared stand with the adjoining Leeds rugby ground. Other new features include new floodlights, roofing and landscaping of the ground’s concourses, and refurbishment of the hospitality areas including the Directors Suite and dining areas.

Premier Hospitality spoke to Chris Slinger of Styles and Wood, and Ellen Pryce of Nanu Soda. Both have been involved in turning the old Director’s suite into a shining, classy gem of the stadium’s redevelopment.

Chris Slinger of Styles and Wood told us:

How did you get involved with this project?

“We completed interiors of one of the stands in Headingley stadium and we’re fitting out the new boxes and the banqueting suite. We got involved as we priced and won a scheme with Caddick Construction on the North Stand, which is currently under construction. From that tender process we had the opportunity to develop and direct the Directors Suite with Caddick development.”

How long did it take?

“The Directors Suite was about a 16 week scheme. It opened and it was functioning on Friday 1st March. Everything about the Directors Suite is completely bespoke.”

Were there any challenges?

“The challenges were working in a lively environment around the suite space, whilst the cricket and rugby clubs were still functioning. Additionally, to do a refurbishment in an existing building always brings in more challenges, with mechanical and electrical infrastructure.”

Have you had any feedback yet?

“The feedback has been exceptional; the opening night showed it was a real wow factor, plus there’s nothing like it around the Yorkshire area. It’ll aid rugby and cricket and raise spirits of the clubs. The Directors Suite views are incredible across to the cricket ground, so it’ll definitely draw people to watch the sport. And the Directors Suite won’t be there to just watch sport because the club are trying to get 365 day a year function out of it. They want it used it for any family functions, weddings, and so it really opens doors for many things at Headingley.”

Interior designer Ellen Pryce of Nanu Soda was responsible for the total transformation of the Directors’ Suite, together with a number of other areas in the redevelopment. She talks to us here about the Directors’ Suite in particular.

“We were delighted to be involved with the design of the pavilion, the new north stand and the link to the north stand, the Directors’ Suite, private dining and board room, terrace, and the tavern and bar, which called for a more traditional approach.

“Recognising the need to introduce a fresh approach, the client had sought to commission designers with expertise and a track record in the field of bar and restaurant interiors. Our brief was open; we were tasked with creating an elegant and timeless finish, and given examples including the London Ritz and the Rosewood. The objective was to achieve a high end, prestigious look and feel which was capable of standing the test of time.”

In particular, the client wanted to avoid the traditional ambiance typical of function rooms and corporate spaces. The aspiration was to achieve opulence and grandeur with a classic urban bar feel. Ellen relished the fact that Nanu Soda was given a free hand and was able to embrace the project with a strong vision and a clear set of designs.

Ellen continued:

“For us, the particular design highlights in the Directors’ Suite are the use of rich, dark woods, the illuminated wall feature by the bar and the bespoke light fittings, which we introduced to create a warm glow to add to the atmosphere. The bar is finished with a stunning sweep of pewter creating the feel of an ocean liner rather than a simple bar counter.

“Overall, the lighting is simply amazing; we commissioned two metre sculptures to add to the effect, and the lovely rosy wooden floor features attractive inset brass detail. Don’t forget to look up – there’s a huge bespoke clock on the ceiling too. The doors of the suite are finished using really fine calf leather – first impressions are crucial, and it’s the fine details like these that make this such a unique and special space.”

However, the space handed over to Ellen before work started presented all its own challenges. She explained:

“The original space had no heating, no air conditioning, only minimal lighting and a ‘pop up’ effect bar, so it was essential for us to get the infrastructure correct right from the start, and to make the space feel and operate more like a high end bar and restaurant before we implemented the finer details. This work consumed a significant proportion of our budget, but despite this we have designed and created a classic, elegant scheme which we are very proud of.”

Ellen concluded:

“The hard work has all been worth it, and the look on people’s faces when they first walk in shows that we have achieved our objectives. It’s really satisfying to see they are taken aback, that this isn’t at all what they were expecting from a cricket and rugby ground! The space definitely has the real wow factor we intended, and it’s great to have created something in Yorkshire that is as refined and impressive as any high end city venue.”

To find out more about the phases of work taking place at the stadium, visit: Headingley Masterplan

Headingley Stadium

Nanu Soda

Nanu Soda offers a full Architecture and Interior design service, supplying interior design for leisure and hospitality spaces.

Owned by Ellen Pryce and Steve Owens, Nanu Soda was established in 2011. Previously two separate companies, Nanu Soda currently employs 5 interior designers and 2 architectural technicians.

The company was recently heavily involved at Headingley Stadium as the lead designer and project manager for the Directors Suite. Every element of the design and all finishes were specified by Nanu Soda. This included sourcing all the products, dealing with suppliers and completing all the structural and working drawings.

Ellen Pryce, Creative Director at Nanu Soda and lead designer on the project, commented:

“When the Caddick Group contacted us to go along and meet them to discuss the project, we were honoured and extremely excited. The group wanted to use a specialist bar designer for that section of the stadium and loved our previous work.

“It is by far the biggest project we have completed to date and also the most difficult as we wanted to make sure every aspect of it was considered and designed to the highest possible standard, so the drawings, specifications and project management that came with this was intense.

“Now the job is completed we are thrilled with the level of finish and extremely proud of ourselves and the team that we worked with.”



A family owned business for 45 years, Acanthus specialises in supplying contract furniture to the leisure Industry, as well as education and office environments.

By placing an emphasis on quality and dedicating personalised attention to clients’ requirements, Acanthus has become a highly respect company in the industry. It has worked on a broad range of projects both in the UK and abroad. This includes Royal Ascot, the University of Cambridge and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, as well as multiple hotel projects.

Acanthus recently supplied and installed the complete furniture package for the premier suite – the bar, private dining and boardroom areas at Headingley Stadium. This involved working closely with Ellen at Nanu Soda to achieve the exceptional finish from specification through to completion on this prestigious project.

Tim Hooper, Director, said:

“Having followed both the Yorkshire Cricket Team as well as Leeds Rhinos for a number of years, we feel very privileged to work on this internationally renowned stadium with its proud Yorkshire heritage.

“We pride ourselves on our reputation for providing both the highest quality service and offering personal & bespoke resolutions to challenges that may arise in a project. This has led to long standing relationships and recommendations from both designers and previous clients.”

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