There’s been an incredible quantity, quality and variety of projects arriving at our door over the past 12 months. Last year there really did feel as though something was really happening – that there was a genuine shift when it came to the size, prestige and design quality of the projects heading our way.
While London (as it does!) continued to make the majority of the architectural and design headlines, our heads were turned by the grand schemes and developments taking place outside the capital – in the likes of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Birmingham.
If we take Greater Manchester as a perfect example, there has been a fantastic variety of work for us design journalists to purr over – ranging from forward-thinking public sector projects, through to grand corporate HQ’s, funky co-working spaces, beautiful public space schemes and transformational refurbs, both in the worlds of workplace and hospitality.
Mixology North17’s awards entries proved this point perfectly – but don’ take our word for it, have a look for yourselves…
Small commercial Interiors Project (sub 15,000 sq ft)
1. 74, Crown House, Sheffield
74 enjoyed this project immensely as it gave them the opportunity to create a high-end student environment and push the boundaries of the norm in student accommodation with a series of stunning communal spaces. 74 wanted to further bridge the gap between hospitality and co-working.
2. Absolute Commercial Interiors, Engage, Leeds
The open-plan Lux desking embraces the creative working environment that Engage have adopted. Bright colours, collaboration spaces and quirky features truly make this one of the most exciting offices in Leeds. Artificial grass flooring and auditorium seating sit alongside different spaces to suit different modes of work.
3. AWW, BBC, Hull
As partner of the City of Culture 2017, the BBC commissioned AWW to modernise the ground floor of their Hull studios. The upgrading of the internal and public spaces required longevity in design and delivery of long-term functionality, providing a distinctive entrance and reception for BBC Radio Humberside.
4. Aztec Interiors, Avenue HQ, Liverpool
Designed to impress, the space is unique and versatile yet functional and comfortable; a place where businesses can make great things happen. This is now the most popular collaborative space in Liverpool, with studio space completely let within weeks.
5. Bridge Architects, 111 Piccadilly, Manchester
The project encompasses the partial refurbishment of this existing 1960’s office building at reception, first and third floor levels, including whole building staircases, WC’s and common parts. Existing spaces have been transformed to provide a new reception, lounge, meeting rooms, informal meeting areas, with co-working and serviced office suites.
6. ege carpets, Jaywing, Sheffield
Gently guided by interior architecture specialists from 93ft and ege carpets, Jaywing changed their original perception of tiles being the ideal solution when renovating the new office space as part of a bigger rejuvenation of the Sheffield area, opting instead for broadloom. The major advantage of choosing broadloom is the custom design possibility, offering a tailor-made pattern, underlining the rustic and industrial neighborhood in both colour and pattern.
7. FWP Rheged Petrol Filling Station, Penrith
The filling station at Rheged underwent a huge transformation in a very short space of time, due to the tight deadline set by the client. Remodelling the space allowed for an improved retail area, which enabled the client to showcase and ultimately sell more delicious homemade food.
8. HLM, InterContinental Hotel, Park Lane Basement Office, London
The existing basement car park at the InterContinental Hotel was transformed into high quality office accommodation. The challenge was to create a light, dynamic and inspiring place to work from the existing layout and position. This was overcome by introducing natural elements in the finishes, materials and imagery.
9. NoChintz, Sleeper, Stockport
The brief was to create a modern working environment with key zoned areas, dynamic spaces and smart working solutions. NoChintz were challenged to create bespoke units to store and display the infinite coffee table books the teams have collected over the years, in particular the many back-issues of magazines, all with a subtle nod to the building’s history.
10. SpaceInvader, Hilson Moran, Manchester
The first WELL accredited workplace in the North of England, the project was a partnership with Hilson Moran to relocate and design their new offices in Manchester.
11. SpaceInvader, Penketh, Manchester
Penketh approached SpaceInvader in November 2016 to design a new home for their sales team. The project saw the implementation of an agile workspace, whilst providing a unique space to showcase their products.
12. Spatial Office Environments, Spatial HQ, Altrincham
The new showroom in Altrincham is a beautiful, understated work of art. It successfully exhibits a multitude of fit-out and furniture solutions in one subtly elegant and cohesive scheme. The design quality and innovation on display is outstanding.
13. RFD Interior Architecture, RRADAR The Beacon, Hull
With a CEO who says he is going to ‘break the law and succeed’, RFD knew this would be an interesting project. Graffiti, bonsai garden rooms, putting green, swings…RFD has implemented a unique project for rapidly growing tech-based law firm, Rradar.
14. Ultimate (Commercial Interiors), Skipton Building Society, Silsden
As one of the largest employers in Skipton, the Society has a genuine commitment to the town and its economy by using local suppliers. The concept for The Atrium was borne out of their desire to create an enhanced working environment for their staff, introducing breakout spaces and collaborative working zones.
Medium commercial interiors Project (15,000 – 50,000 sq ft)
1. Aztec Interiors, Griffiths & Armour, Liverpool
Aztec’s fit-out for Griffiths & Armour is both stand-out and professional. But while Aztec appreciates the aesthetic pill of a truly special fit-out, they understand that success is measured on the bottom line. This project is no exception; productivity increased dramatically within weeks, while HR reported an influx of applications.
2. BDP, PwC, Leeds
The PwC Leeds office provides a dynamic and vibrant workplace for its staff with a new business approach and exciting interior landscape. The scheme captures the forward-thinking movement of the business, with greater occupancy efficiency, better communication across all staff levels and a wider variety of workplace settings.
3. Bridge Architects, Whitehouse, Wilderspool
Bridge Architects were responsible for the complete interior refurbishment of the Whitehouse, to provide serviced office accommodation and communal areas. The scope included detail design and concepts for re-positioning and re-branding of the Bruntwood offer to customers.
4. Contents Design, Formica European HQ, Newcastle
Contents Design’s interior scheme for Formica’s new European HQ is a truly holistic approach to interior design. Contents Design used Formica’s product range across the scheme to create a living exhibit of Formica product, which transforms the workplace for both staff and visitor.
5. HLM, Derwent House, Mott MacDonald, Sheffield
HLM were approached by Mott MacDonald to re-locate their Sheffield office and create a landmark space. The new facility provides contemporary office space, mixing natural elements with clean lines and quality furniture. The feature central shared area opens out, creating a ‘community hall’ social space for clients and staff.
6. OBI Property, Myerson Solicitors LLP, Altrincham
OBI Property enabled Myerson’s team to come together under one roof for the first time. OBI designed the space specifically to encourage collaboration and integration, to enhance and complement the Myerson company values and to provide a flexible environment to bring out the best in the team.
7. Paragon Interiors Group, PKF Cooper Parry, Blythe Valley
The only ‘bull’ you’ll see from ‘rebel accountants’ PKF Cooper Parry is the giant pink one in reception. On a mission to ‘Disrupt, Lead and Make Life Count’, their brief was simple – ‘think of an accountant’s office and do the opposite’. Welcome to a brave new world – welcome to ‘Parrydise’.
8. Powell Office Style, Midland Metro Alliance, Birmingham
A stunning transformation of offices within an iconic Grade II tower block in Birmingham city centre has created a vibrant, inclusive, productive and efficient new home for Midland Metro Alliance. Space has been cleverly zoned into work, collaborative and socialising areas, with an intuitive navigation between each, which supports communication and concentration. The space is used by both remote and office based workers, while the design assists integration and respect.
9. Saracen Interiors, Sirius Minerals, Scarborough
Saracen Interiors delivered the impressive fit-out and refurbishment of Sirius Minerals’ new company headquarters. The project included the installation of suspended ceilings, flooring, furniture, a kitchen and breakout areas, collaborative working spaces and a new reception layout, complete with a bespoke reception desk and living wall.
10. Smith Brothers, Waters Informatics, Romania
With the size of their workforce doubling, Waters Corporation asked Smith Brothers to design their new Informatics facility in Romania. Close observation and collaboration with the local team resulted in a truly flexible and inspiring workplace that caters for the software developer’s way of working.
11. SoVibrant, Bruntwood Platform, Leeds
SoVibrant were delighted to be able to support Bruntwood with the exciting development of ‘Platform’ – the former ‘City House’ landmark building in Leeds, with the creation of a new concept for their serviced office and co-working offering. In an extremely competitive market, the creation of an innovative space was critical to attracting all types of businesses.
12. SpaceInvader, SkyBet, Leeds
SpaceInvader was tasked with helping Sky Betting and Gaming design and develop their new flagship digital office in Leeds. The company’s success had meant an increase in recruitment, putting a major strain on their existing office space.
13. tp bennett, DLA Piper, Manchester
DLA Piper’s new Manchester office, which includes a professional client suite and an office floor, balances the firm’s need for privacy in the legal sector with a contemporary and progressive working environment. The final design is about inclusivity, enabling the whole team to interact more.
14. Ward Robinson, NBS, The Old Post Office, Newcastle
A new lease of life has been breathed into this iconic listed building, preserving its use for the future and making it fit for purpose as the headquarters of digitally focused organisation, NBS. The result is an inspiring and exciting environment with a diverse mix of agile work settings.
15. Ward Robinson, True Potential LLP, Newcastle
To accommodate the client’s meteoric growth and bring the individual parts of the business together with a consistent brand aesthetic, this scheme was developed to balance the demands of the visiting London City client base while being the employer of choice, holding onto their business ethos of ‘Simple, effective, unique’.
Large commercial interiors Project (50,00 sq ft)
1. AECOM, Bristol-Myers Squibb Business Services, Chester
Bristol-Myers Squibb Chester provides high knowledge-based capabilities and services across multiple disciplines. The workplace drives a culture and working environment that benefits patients and enables people to connect; driving faster problem solving and decision making.
2. 74, Elgin Place, Glasgow
Originally designed as a hotel, the scheme was adapted by 74 to create a student accommodation like no other. A journey is created over seven floors of amenity, through a stunning atrium, culminating in a roof terrace overlooking the Victorian skyline. The interior design draws influence from Glasgow’s industrial past.
3. BDP, The Bright Building, Manchester
The vision was to create a community that thrives on open innovation; an exceptional place where great ideas can come to life through openness and collaboration. A place that stirs curiosity; where the ground floor belongs to the wider MSP community, visitors and the casual passer-by for pleasure, collaboration and meetings.
4. Bridge Architects, Neo, Manchester
Bridge Architects were responsible for the complete exterior and interior refurbishment of the former Bank House building on Charlotte Street, Manchester. A complete re-think of a 1970’s office block, the building has been completely re-imagined and transformed into a flexible and contemporary workplace.
5. CPMG Architects, Biosciences Discovery, Nottingham
The impressive scheme complemented the elegant and sustainable intention for the project, in which the laboratories blended seamlessly with the offices and meeting rooms for the client. The laboratories are a strong and striking facility with an underlining scientific element, which showcase the design to each different end user.
6. Fairhursts Design Group, Thales Innovation Centre, Crawley
The project was an internal development of an existing office shell into one of Thales’ primary headquarters. This multifunctional development includes high-spec laboratories, a restaurant and a customer suite and innovation centre, with space to both work and relax.
7. Heatons Office Interiors with AEW Architects, Stockport Homes Group HQ, Stockport
The scheme involves a complete furniture installation of UK manufacturers, to provide an exciting and interesting enviroment for staff and public alike for a company with a social conscience. Bringing together staff from various sites, the furniture solutions cleverly mediate the challenges that this presented.
8. KKA Interiors, True Student, Glasgow
A truly creative and collaborative approach was taken by KKA Interiors’ client, True, when developing this flagship student accommodation in Glasgow. KKA was instrumental in developing not just the brand but the physical manifestation of its core value.
9. SoVibrant, Co-Operative Bank HQ, Manchester
SoVibrant has worked with The Co-Operative Bank for several years during difficult financial and reputational challenges as well as separation from the Co-Op Group. Having worked in partnership with the Bank to understand the strategic objectives and target operating model, SoVibrant has been instrumental in the alignment of this with the future estate strategy and design of Balloon Street – the Bank’s new HQ.
10. tp bennett, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Manchester
tp bennett has implemented a bold new design at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Global Centre at One New Bailey. The flexible design rejects the traditional legal office blueprint to offer a more progressive and agile working environment that encourages collaboration and supports its staff.
11. TSK, EQ4, AJ Bell’s HQ, Salford
TSK was asked to create a new HQ for AJ Bell to provide the best possible environment for employees and to support business growth and priorities. Challenges included in-situ tenants, no noise from 6am- 6pm and remaining true to AJ Bell’s guiding principles throughout. The result is a workplace that puts employee wellbeing at the heart of everything – and a delighted client!
Public sector interiors Project
1. CPMG Architects, Teesside Library, Teesside
The Teesside Library refurbishment provides a variety of collaborative environments to encourage innovative use and thinking. The concept is to ‘bring the outside in’ as an antidote to the stark exposed concrete structure. This is achieved through a seasonal palette of colours, which contribute towards an engaging and fun social environment.
2. CPMG Architects, Loughborough STEM, Loughborough
The new build for the Loughborough University STEM building was designed to be a student focused learning environment that would improve the students’ learning experience. The science and engineering laboratories feature a modern and high quality design. Each area of the design is identified with wayfinding and smart colour scheme.
3. BAND Architects, Peaks & Plains Housing Trust, Macclesfield
BAND Architects undertook a complete re-fit of Peaks & Plains Housing Trust’s workspace at Ropewalks in Macclesfield. In doing so, it freed up 800 sq m of lettable space, the income from which funded the stunning fit-out programme. This funding model, using rental income, is a first for any public sector landlord.
4. CPMG Architects, DSU Campus Centre, Leicester
The Campus Centre has been refurbished to create a state-of-the-art new home for DSU, improving the student experience. The ground floor features Milly Lane’s cafe and DSU shops. Level 1 includes more welcoming student services and extra breakout space for students to study, chat and relax.
5. Heckmondwike, University of Chester, Chester
The University of Chester required the refurbishment of its flooring in the main teaching and communal areas to inspire and attract the next generation of students. Colour was important in this project, which led to the choice of Heckmondwike’s Array and Broadrib carpets in complementary shades to reflect the University’s branding.
6. KKA Interiors, Student Union Spaces for Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool
KKA Interiors was asked to create a radically new image for the Student Union through the formation of a series of highly flexible ‘pic ‘n’ mix’ Hub Spaces at LJMU. The scheme draws heavily on Liverpool’s rich heritage of creative art and music, pop-up café culture and great public parks, overlaid with a heavy dose of inspired student engagement.
Hotel interiors Project
1. DV8 Designs, The Stanneylands, Wilmslow
The Stanneylands involved the redevelopment of the entire historic mansion house and grounds. The creative overhaul transformed the rebrand to bring out the ‘Best of British’, adding a subtle touch of contemporary country charm and enhancing its timeless elegance to complement the original historic charm.
2. KONCEPT Interior Design, Novotel Canary Wharf, London
Novotel Canary Wharf is a stylish 39-storey hotel, which boasts 313 rooms and 26 individually designed suites. The hoel also comprises a state-of-the-art gym and pool, nine fully equipped meeting rooms, a contemporary restaurant, bar and roof terrace – complete with panoramic views across London.
3. NoChintz, The Masons Arms Hotel, Louth
The whole hotel has been given a contemporary twist on an art deco design, with dark colours, soft velvets, brass and marble echoing its elegant past and complementing its original features. Geometry has been used as a consistent theme throughout, juxtaposed by soft planting, bringing an air of luxury.
4. NoChintz, Lews Castle, Stornoway
NoChintz has been working with Natural Retreats to bring the unique Lews Castle back to life as a notable hospitality destination. With fabrics woven on the island, British and Scandinavian furniture brands were paired to deliver a contemporary yet appropriate vision for this Scottish castle.
5. SpaceInvader, Bruntwood Hall, Stockport
The Oddfellows Group appointed SpaceInvader in 2015 to design its new hotel in Cheadle, Stockport. The 19th century mansion had never been used as a hotel before but has now been transformed into a 22-bedroom boutique hotel complete with six suites, a destination restaurant, cocktail bar, event space and spa.
Leisure interior Project
1. Absolute Commercial Interiors, Legends Club, Leeds United, Leeds
The combination of leather banquette seating, white honed marble tables, quartz serving counter and bespoke joinery provide the Legends Club suite with a new lease of life. The transformation of the space has modernised the club’s hospitality facilities and revolutionised the match day experience.
2. Absolute Commercial Interiors, The Man Behind the Curtain, Leeds
The brand new restaurant venue has been developed by Absolute in a disused basement space and features Stucco and Stucco polished concrete walls, Lapacida porcelain floor tiles, Italian book match marble surfaces and a full Charvet kitchen suite, made to order and imported from France.
3. Fasciato Architects, Artisan RV Restaurant & Bar, Blackburn
Fasciato Architects transformed an existing hotel restaurant into a stand-alone contemporary restaurant and bar with private dining, roof terrace and outdoor covered dining. They worked closely with their client to develop a concept, resulting in a cool and fresh dining and drinking experience.
4. Fuse, Victoria Gate Casino, Leeds
Some five years, 300 drawings and over 25,000 emails later, Victoria Gate opened as one of only eight ‘large’ casinos permitted in the UK. The size of 18 tennis courts and at a cost of £30m, the casino, its two bars and restaurant have created more than 200 jobs in the Leeds city region.
5. FWP, Galloways Cafe, Morecambe
The new facility for Galloways in Morecambe is designed to aid the visually impaired. Using various innovative designs, the hub has had a fantastic impact on Galloways’ clients and has changed their lives through the support and advice they are now able to offer.
6. FWP, Everton Football Club, Liverpool
The corporate hospitality areas at Everton FC have undergone a major remodel and refurbishment to create a quality fine dining environment for directors and guests. The new interiors have greatly improved the experience customers receive on match days and has increased the numbers using Everton’s hospitality.
7. KSS, Anfield Main Stand Fan Experience Areas, Liverpool
KSS’ designs for the new Main Stand at Anfield celebrate Liverpool FC fans and their unique passion for the club and city. The redevelopment has propelled the club into the 21st century, setting the benchmark for a new stadium experience. Oh Salah!
8. OBI Property, Junkyard Golf Club, Manchester
Junkyard Golf Club has taken crazy golf to a whole new level. They feature at least two nine-hole crazy golf courses, snack food and drinks at each venue, set-off by a highly energetic environment of colour, sound and lighting. The new Manchester venue attracts 3,000 players a week.
9. The Design Practice by UBER, House of Evelyn, Manchester
The Design Practice by UBER has masterminded a destination luxury beauty salon in the heart of Manchester. The property integrates the latest technology alongside indulgent design features. Climate controlled zones protect the acoustics of the salon. Mood lighting, temperature controls and bespoke surfaces create a premium ambience for visiting clients.