Tour a little more of The Neighborhood — and get a look at the creative studio’s beginnings as they refurbished a historic 19th-century building at 24 Lever Street in Manchester, U.K.
Tell us about the workspace at the Neighbourhood. The main architectural design was carried out in collaboration with Dan Newport at Re-Form Architects. With the fantastic raw canvas of a 19th-century grade II listed building, and like a neighborhood in any city, there are a number of colliding influences and eras. Architecturally, we wanted to express clearly the distinction between new and old.
Were there special considerations that influenced the way the space is set up? Any particular obstacles to overcome? 24 Lever Street was pretty much in ruin after a fire destroyed a neighboring building in 2007, so the initial obstacles were simply to get the building to a viable, habitable state.
As the building is grade II listed, there were also several restrictions on what we could and could not do internally — for instance, the walls that had to be preserved. We wanted to respect and re-use as many of the original artifacts that we could, and reinterpret them in a contemporary setting. So, for example, we’ve reused many of the old-fashioned “front doors” found in the building in our meeting rooms (christened “Pie, Chips, and Peas” — a famous northern English trio) and mounted them in a simple glass wall.
Getting power and data around the space in a sensitive way was challenging. Embedding cables in the floor was not an option, and with great north-lights in the vaulted roof, we didn’t want to interfere with the lines with galvanized cable trays. So, we utilized an intricate network of galvanized air conditioning ducting to contain the 4 kilometers of cabling which needs to travel around the studio, hanging these from the primary beams.
As a creative company, it’s vital that we have an inspiring, and challenging, environment — with quirks, and stories embedded within our walls.