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Lion roars on the side of new home of art and design

The iconic roaring lion of De Montfort University Leicester's (DMU) logo has been revealed on the side of the new Vijay Patel Building at the heart of the campus.

The striking red image stands out clearly on the white wall of the building, home to the faculty of Art, Design and Humanities and the centrepiece of the £136 million Campus Transformation Project currently under way at the university.

Lion1

The building is named after Dr Vijay Patel, Chief Executive Officer of Waymade Healthcare. Dr Patel, a graduate of DMU's Leicester School of Pharmacy, and his wife Mrs Patel have made the  single biggest donation by individuals in DMU's history.

Work is nearly complete on the complex, with several parts - a new staff common room, a Food Village and the Design Crafts wing - already open and running.

The rest of the building will be finished and opened later this year and will be the home for DMU's Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities.

And high in the air, on the side of the Arts Tower - which will accommodate the new Leicester School of Art and, together with the Design Wing, cover the full spectrum of visual arts, design and architecture - the new lion logo - often mistaken for a griffin - is clearly visible.

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The striking image has been used as the logo for DMU since 1992 but the use of the lion itself in Leicester has a long history and originates with the City of Leicester coat of arms.

Lion2

The arms features two lions holding up a shield which is decorated with a cinquefoil (a French word meaning 'five leaves'). A helmet with decorative mantling sits on top of the shield, crested by a wyvern. Often mistaken for a dragon, the wyvern is similar but only has two legs. The motto 'semper eadem' means 'always the same'.

Elements of the City arms were then used by DMU's predecessors, the Leicester Municipal Technical and Art Schools, and Leicester Polytechnic was granted its own coat of arms, which still incorporated elements from the old coat of arms including the lion and the cinquefoil. A kestrel was added and the motto changed to 'excellentia et studium', meaning 'excellence and zeal'.

Katharine Short, Archivist at DMU's Heritage Centre, said: "In 1992 it was decided to create a new logo for the De Montfort University. But designers still wanted to maintain the continuity with the old coat of arms.

"So a lion was chosen, with the cinquefoil embedded in his mane. This is the DMU logo you can see on the tower. The lion is sometimes mistaken for a griffin, but griffins are beaked like birds."

Posted on Wednesday 11th May 2016

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