New Century Hall, Manchester

Project: New Century Hall

Client: Workspace Design & Build

Location: Manchester

Total project value: £10 million

Built in 1963, New Century is a major 1,000-capacity concert venue and dance hall with an even bigger legacy. Appointed by Workspace Design & Build to deliver bespoke joinery craftsmanship throughout the ground-floor food hall and first-floor dance hall, JSJ UK joined a dedicated team – which included working closely with the project architect, Sheila Bird Studio – to sensitively but strikingly bring the modernist icon back to life.

The star of the award-winning New Century food hall is its 12m long and 5m wide bar, which was central to the aesthetic of the space. Glowing in the venue’s soft lighting, glassware hangs from a metal gantry above the bar. The feature represents the hard work and design expertise from our team, who overcame multiple challenges to successfully deliver the architectural concept. Working within the confines of the grade II listed building, to a strong design brief and a fixed budget, our expert team presented multiple bespoke joinery manufacturing solutions to land a successful and showstopping final design.

The bar itself was crafted in our Preston-based workshop, as were all seating booths in the space, a VIP bar, drinks perches surrounding the exposed concrete columns that enhance the venue’s industrial feel, iconic feature wall panelling throughout the venue, plus the ticket kiosk and concert venue’s 7m bar for the dance hall above.

As a high-profile space, multiple parties were invested in the revival of New Century Hall, meaning the project was complex to manage and drive, but was delivered with care and consideration by our team. We overcame numerous technical complications, including the challenges of supplying discrete service routes which were in keeping with the scheme’s designs to allow power cabling and other services throughout a space tied by so many renovation restrictions. Our solution was to install metal pipes throughout the ceiling space and specific bespoke joinery items such as the main bar, adding to the industrial feel of the design.

We worked alongside multiple other parties and trades, as works took place simultaneously on all floors – with a dance hall, several food kitchens and a state of the art creative education academy facility being brought to life across the venue’s three floors. Throughout the food hall we showcased a range of materials, combining ash and cherry veneer, cherry timber and sapele timber with Durat recycled plastic solid surface worktops.

We pride ourselves on our ability to design problems out of any plan, and devise solutions that meet both a design vision and its budget – essential skills on every project. The end result at New Century Hall is an eclectic, beautiful, enveloping space, and we’re extremely proud to have played such a critical part in its creation.

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