Manchester International Festival, Festival Square, Manchester

Project: Manchester International Festival, Festival Square, Manchester

Stunning contemporary street furniture made for the roof terrace of Manchester International Festival has been designed using Stokbord® recycled plastic sheet and board following a competition among design students from Manchester School of Art.

Liverpool-based plastics recycler Centriforce worked alongside the students to come up with the striking outdoor seating for the prestigious roof terrace at the showcase Glass House venue in Manchester’s Albert Square.  

To win the competition the team of students presented to a ‘Dragon’s Den’-style panel representing senior University teaching staff, Manchester designers, MIF, and Centriforce.  A total of 60 seats were fabricated with the help of Ferrious, the leading Manchester bespoke furniture design company responsible for creating the ‘look’ for Festival Square this year.

Following the event, the furniture will be transferred to the Art School to become a permanent feature of the School’s new roof top garden and should last for many years.

As part of this year’s ‘look’, the Festival Pavilion has been transformed into a haven of upcycled design with ‘fabric bombed’ benches, vintage armchairs, and recycled lighting.  The finished design for the benches combines contemporary beauty with practicality to reflect the recycling theme.

Paul Tempest, designer with Ferrious explains:  “The students have come up with an innovative and practical piece of design by using the Stokbord sheets as fins so that rainwater drains off the furniture.  At the same time the benches are heavy enough to be stable and wind-resistant.   They also look great with a real industrial and contemporary feel.

“The Stokbord sheets were cut to shape within the University and by specialist CNC fabricators.  They were assembled by the students themselves in our warehouse, so they got a real feel for what it is like to be a ‘hands on’ product manufacturer.”

The Year 2 Interior Design and Three Dimensional Design students were challenged to design the furniture using Stokbord because of its robust, practical, weather-proof and environmentally friendly credentials.  

Ronnie Doctor, Marketing Manager for Centriforce Products said: “The students have truly come up with a beautiful and practical design which makes a stunning centre piece to the roof garden.  We were extremely impressed with their innovative thinking which has used Stokbord in a completely new way to create a very refreshing and unusual street furniture design.

“Centriforce is always looking for new and innovative ways to transform our recycled plastic materials into useable and commercially-viable products.  The students have really showed they can think creatively to build an end-product that is attractive, practical and great for the environment.”

Manchester International Festival is being held between 4 and 21 July 2013.  MIF is a festival of original, new work and special events and takes place biennially in Manchester, UK.    The Festival launched in 2007 as an artist-led, commissioning festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture.    The Festival also encompasses MIFCreative, the community and learning focused arm of the Festival, bringing MIF to the people and communities of Manchester and learning from them in its turn.