Hill Dickinson Cake THING

THING OF THE WEEK

HAPPY RETURNS… A lot happened in 2007. Nineteen-year-old Adele arrived as a new star in town, Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo was Premier League top scorer with 31 goals, and the run on Northern Rock signalled the looming global financial crisis. But whatever. The summer of ‘07 was all about the property community’s first expedition to Chester Zoo for the Hill Dickinson Developer’s Conference, now an established part of the business calendar. Many happy returns to the best legal-updates-followed-by-zoo-tour-followed-by-barbeque there is. While we’re on the subject of anniversaries, Place North West started publishing in August 2007. Watch out for more on that next month…


Faunagraphic, street art from last year's Blackburn Open Walls festival

Street art by Faunagraphic, from last year’s Blackburn Open Walls festival, which is taking place again this week across the town

FUNKYTOWN… This week, nine street artists from around the world descended on Blackburn to transform some of the town’s buildings and walls into art. Now in its second year, the Blackburn Open Walls festival, or BoW, is supported by Blackburn with Darwen Council and runs from 3 – 8 July. As part of the festival, an exhibition showcasing street art is being held at Prism Gallery until Friday 14 July. There will also be a 90-minute street art tour taking place tomorrow at 3pm, starting at the Prism Gallery. Blackburn’s the place to be at the moment, having just won Town Centre of the Year in the national Great British High Street Awards. For more information about BoW and a map of the artwork from this and last year’s festivals, visit: www.blackburnopenwalls.com

 


ALL CHANGE… There’s something very satisfying about a good ‘before and after’ photo showing construction in action, and this comparison of a year in the life of One New Bailey on the edge of Salford shows just how much can change in 12 months.

 


BOUNCE BACK… What is being touted as the world’s longest, continuous, inflatable obstacle course is coming to the North West this month. A 1,000 ft-long labyrinth challenge is visiting Haydock Racecourse across the weekend of 29-30 July, with 30 sections to tackle. Sounds like the perfect team-building opportunity.

 


St Michaels New Facade January 2017

Out with the old?

BEST LAID PLANS… St Michael’s rumbles on. Revised plans are due to go before the public next week at Manchester Central Library. By now pretty much everyone in the city has an opinion on this scheme, and the height, colour of the cladding, or lack of active street frontages proposed in the previous application have all raised criticism. Hopes are running high for an overhaul of the plans, but how far the scheme will have changed in reality may be quite different…


BIG DIG… Fancy turning your Time Team dreams into a reality? Volunteers are wanted for an archaeological dig at Halton Castle in Runcorn, over two weeks later this month. The last big dig uncovered two human skeletons from the Middle Ages, so you could expect to find more than just a few shards of old terracotta pots…

 


FIT-OUT… So many lawyers and accountants shout about their agile funky new office when in fact it’s same old open-plan cavern with allotted desks, that it’s easy to dismiss the whole thing as faddy hot air. However, Shoosmiths have demonstrated it is possible to deliver on the talk with a delightfully higgledy-piggledy yet efficient 32,000 sq ft workplace at XYZ in Spinningfields. The gallery below shows the efforts to offer different spaces and break up the layout. Staff have laptops and can plug into any screen and keyboard. Coherence is maintained in neighbourhoods of desks that gather teams loosely together. Desks are cleared each evening so as not to ‘belong’ to any one person. Double screens encourage more efficiency, allowing lawyers to read documents on one and compose notes on the other. There is a client working area for visitors to drop in and use as they wish. Coffee stations at every turn and a breakfast bar stocked with sweets underscore the relaxed and friendly atmosphere and the staff seem to like it so far. A different sort of hot air remains unbudged, though, as the firm chose not to take up the offer of air conditioning on the day they moved in – they didn’t have it in their last home, Old Granada Studios – but have now changed their mind given the recent heatwaves, and have to wait a couple of weeks to get up and running on the building’s climate control system. Claremont was the main contractor. The cost was around £4m. Managing partner Vaqas Farooq says productivity is up and two years’ of planning the design is paying off.

 

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