The Printworks, marketed as Europe’s first urban entertainment centre, has opened in Manchester, bringing together a collection of bars, restaurants, nightclubs and a huge 4500-seater UCI cinema complex. Architect and design consultancy RTKL is responsible for the centre’s designs, from the corporate identity to the interiors.
Built on the former site of Europe’s biggest newspaper plant, the centre is home to big entertainment brands, including Hard Rock CafÃ©, Wagamama, Waxy O’Connor’s and Tiger Tiger, as well as Books etc and health club Holmes Place. The complex is based around an early industrial street scene with newspaper mastheads draping the walls, while incorporating hi-tech methods to enhance visual and audio entertainment for visitors.
RTKL was involved in all aspects of the design concept, though it has been left up to individual brand owners occupying tenancies to stamp their own presence on their particular sites.
“Architecturally, The Printworks is based on our own research into the late-19th century, early-20th century urban fabric of, primarily, Manchester but the Midlands and the South as well,” says associate Jeremiah Sheehan. “It looks like a nice old industrial district with the branded contemporary look of the tenants applied to it,” he adds.
The consultancy also worked with UCI cinemas to develop a new standalone brand for the company, with the aim of re-inventing the cinema experience for visitors to the complex. Called The Filmworks, it is a concept that could eventually be rolled out across Europe and the aesthetic has been created with this in mind.
“It’s an attempt by UCI to rebrand the whole cinema experience. An aesthetic has been created that celebrates the fact that it is an old industrial building but also celebrates the elements that are new, such as the lifts and the lighting,” says Sheehan.