Manchester-based architects and interior designers 74 have completed the refurbishment of Building 3 at Salford’s prestigious Exchange Quay – newly-rebranded as ICE. The project, for clients Ekistics Property Advisors LLP and Hunter REIM, is comprised of a dedicated social, meeting and bar space, a hireable meeting room, a co-working zone and five upper storeys of lettable office space. The project forms part of 74’s ongoing involvement with the 435,000 sq ft Exchange Quay development, a collection of seven different buildings, all of which offer remodelled Grade A office space from a premium location on the edges of Salford Quays, Soapworks and the expanded Media City.
The ICE project is one of a number of staged redesigns within the development, helping to create a more coherent family of buildings in the development’s striking waterside setting along the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, with shared outside spaces as well as newly-refurbished interiors. People-focused and progressive in nature, the development’s upgrade has been designed to improve working lifestyles by creating a more dynamic, contemporary working environment.
74 Founder David Holt had originally worked with the former owner of Exchange Quay on the 2013 revamp of the tenant experience via the creation of a new public plaza and central street; the reorganisation of vehicle and pedestrian flows; the integration of hard and soft landscaping and the creation of enhanced amenities including a new post office, canteen, creche and bike store, showers and changing facilities. Ekistics Property Advisors LLP became the estate owners’ advisor in late 2017, with Hunter REIM acting as asset managers and CBRE as Managing Agents. Canning O’Neill and JLL are the scheme’s letting agents, with DS Emotion leading Marketing and Place Activation.
‘I’m thrilled to be back at Exchange Quay with the 74 team’, David Holt commented. ‘We worked with Ekistics and Hunter REIM to develop a design strategy to underpin the future asset management of the complex, enabling the offer to stay current and appealing to an ever-demanding tenant base, before moving on to the transformation of building three as ICE.’
The ICE Building:
ICE is located on the development’s central spine, making it easily accessible from the pedestrian boulevard. The 26,000 sq ft, six-storey building offers good sized floor plates and excellent daylight ingress, served by a central circulation core. As part of the project, 74 designed a newly expanded ground floor space to serve tenants of the whole development, including a reception, large meeting room (ICE Cube), lobby lounge and enlarged bar/social space to allow tenants to work, meet, socialise and relax, as well as a first floor lounge and co-working space directly above the new bar. The remainder of storey one and all of storeys 2-5 were then given a Cat-A fit-out, ready for new tenants looking for a cross between a corporate Grade A environment and a more stripped-back co-working environment.
‘We were very conscious of the type of business Exchange Quay might attract – and that’s a real cross-section, from finance through to retailers’, David Holt commented. ‘This isn’t an old mill in Ancoats after all, but a 90s building with amazing, massive floorplates and so the design had to speak a broad but understated design language that would appeal to a multiplicity of tenant profiles.’
Architectural and Design Approach
74 worked closely with the client teams to reconfigure the ground and first floor spaces to create the maximum usability, flexibility and contemporary appeal. Changes included an unmanned reception area, now a calm and welcoming double-height lounge space instead, accessed by a new entrance lobby with a sliding door and blue surround. To the left of the new lobby space is a bookable meeting room – ICE Cube – whilst to the right, the lobby leads directly into the new dawn-to-dusk social space and bar. This space has a newly-doubled footprint, with a strong case made to the client of the value of losing three of the internal ground floor car parking spaces from the space directly behind. The ICE social bar space is now relaxed but high-impact space, with its own dedicated shopfront-entrance from the main Exchange Quay boulevard via a striking grey-blue powder-coated aluminium squared-off arch. An external terrace area beyond, representing new, enhanced public realm hard landscaping, features 2-colour bonded aggregate flooring and loose table and chair seating. Another addition was the new staircase to the rear of the bar area (in addition to the main stair from reception) creating a visual link up to the first- floor communal working space, located directly above the new social bar space. A disabled toilet to the rear of the lobby area and ladies and gents toilets directly above on the first floor were also refurbished, whilst the new lettable office suites were stripped out and given new floors, ceilings and wall treatments, as well as WCs, teapoints and kitchen areas.
For the interiors, a balance was sought between raw and exposed industrial elements, including metal and timber, and a cool and muted berry colour palette with softer, fine-lined furniture, ensuring a feminine and sophisticated addition to the scheme and off-setting the harder, mirror-glazed external face of the building.
Ground floor lobby
The ground floor lobby immediately introduces the new cool and understated colour palette, including soft and dusky pinks and purples with occasional deep petrol blue used for feature walls. Flooring here is cool porcelain tiling, arranged in a herringbone pattern and sourced from Ceramique Internationale, whilst the first recurrent feature of the design scheme - a series of geometric, bespoke oak wall panels – can be seen lining the stair wall immediately to the left of the lobby entrance, accentuating the double-height volume. The stair features a glass balustrade and grey, powder-coated aluminium handrail. A second recurrent feature is planting and biophilia and we also see this here, incorporated into the second feature oak wall, which features integrated moss panels, at the rear right hand side of the lobby area. Planting throughout is by Urban Planters. A feature looped ceiling light was supplied by E2 Lighting, who supplied all the lighting on the scheme. Loose furniture in the space follows clean and contemporary lines and includes pieces by Hay, Pedrali, Muuto and Note Design Studio, all supplied by Form Furniture.
Ground floor meeting room – ICE Cube
For the bookable meeting space on the ground floor, now called ICE Cube, clear glazing was put in along two sides to open up the views. A major challenge was the space’s low existing ceiling height. 74 worked with the M&E team to move as much kit as possible away from the ceiling to give a stronger feeling of space. In this space, we also see the first use of exposed metal, used for the ceiling. The 10-seater meeting table sits at the centre of the room, with a series of three pendant lights above (Elements by Note) above. A screen sits at the end of the room, housed within the third of the bespoke feature oak-panelled walls. Circular LED feature lights on the walls are from E2 Lighting, whilst the carpet – in grey with piped white geometric lines – is from the Clerkenwell range by Milliken.
Ground floor social and bar space
Also on the ground floor is an area which started off as a brief for a fairly typical co-working style space – and then became a coffee shop – and finally morphed a fully-licensed bar. A striking second dedicated entrance was also added here, opening directly onto the main boulevard via a new terrace area. Inside, the bar itself, to the right of the space, sits beneath a cut-out exposed ceiling in stained industrial-look metal, downlit by two strips of spotlights. Furniture includes a variety of formats, from bespoke banquettes along the left-hand side to loose seating opposite and marble-topped tables in between, as well as more café-style seating and a sofa-lounge seating arrangement at the far side.
The bar itself is marble-topped with vertical oak panelling to the front. Flooring adds variety via a mix of woven vinyl tiles by Bolon, carpet from Milliken from the Clerkenwell range and two different finish porcelain tile herringbone segments in pale pink and grey, located directly alongside the bar. A further living green wall using moss creates an eye-catching vertical installation alongside the bar, whilst tropical plants are used near the internal entrance from the lobby lounge area. The Elements by Note pendant light is also used in this space as a linking element, located over the seating arrangement to the rear of the space.
First floor co-working space
A new staircase from the back of the bar leads up to the first floor, using space newly-reclaimed from three former car parking spaces (although plenty of car parking space still exists within the ground-floor floorplate beyond!). This new oak-clad stair leads up to an open, collaborative co-working space, where Exchange Quay’s tenants can come together to relax, socialise and work. A combination of exposed, raw materials and smart finishes and furniture is used here, including some stand-out light fittings, such as brass table lamps. As well as bespoke banquettes in oak and loose furniture areas, the space includes two 6-seater tables for more formal group working, with Elements by Note pendant lights used once again as an element that ties the spaces together. Planting is once again liberally-integrated into the space.
Men’s and women’s toilets are at the rear centre of the space, whilst a disabled-access toilet only is located on the ground floor.
The upper storeys
The 74 team has also designed a range of office suites on the floors above to appeal to a cross-section of tenants wanting a Grade A workplace environment. The large, open floorplates provide a perfect blank canvas, with great views and fantastic levels of natural light. The floorplate has arranged into eight work ‘suites’ ranging from 97 to 484 sq m to suit all sizes of businesses.
Manchester-based architects and interior designers 74 have completed the refurbishment of Building 3 at Salford’s prestigious Exchange Quay – newly-rebranded as ICE. The project, for clients Ekistics Property Advisors LLP and Hunter REIM, is comprised of a dedicated social, meeting and bar space, a hireable meeting room, a co-working zone and five upper storeys of lettable office space. The project forms part of 74’s ongoing involvement with the 435,000 sq ft Exchange Quay...
- Year 2019
- Work started in 2018
- Work finished in 2019
- Client Ekistics Property Advisors LLP
- Contractor Ardmac
- Status Completed works
- Type Public Squares / Office Buildings / Bars/Cafés / Interior Design