1 The Avenue, Spinningfields (Retail) Manchester, UK

With a flagship Armani store at ground floor, a restaurant and bar in the basement and three floors of high quality office space with a roof terrace, 1 The Avenue is an important contribution to Manchester’s urban fabric. The building has its own abstracted logic dictated by its location. Its pivotal form terminates the visual axis which links the Town Hall and Albert Square with Spinningfields Square, tying the retail and business district to the city’s civic core. The ‘scissor’ geometry responds to a duality of desire lines, and is immediately apparent through the dramatic cantilever onto Deansgate.

The building is conceived as a high-fashion and lifestyle outlet. The ground and first floors offer prime retail space, whilst the basement offers catwalk, restaurant and bar facilities to support this. Armani is the primary retail tenant occupying the ground and first floors with Armani Xchange, and Emporio Armani. The upper levels provide administrative support to the Armani retail component.

1,358 m2


We have started the process by analysing existing and future footfall, design lines and vistas. We established new effective key routes and links to and from Manchester’s primary shopping area. We reviewed the ground floor and mezzanine levels and incorporated the full site, acknowledging the historic and planning sensitivities of the area - particularly the Grade I listed John Rylands Library.

Transport and delivery analysis formed an integral part of the study. Our team has specifically added value to our client and the area through our innovative approach to the retail masterplan based on proven experience and commercial knowledge of the north-west of England.


Design Process

Our proposal looked at creating circa 300,000ft2 of retail within existing and newly-formed urban blocks and links. The design includes a creation of gateways into the development as well as updates and adaptations of the original masterplan to promote the area commercially to potential tenants, and accommodate those that had taken up space.

As part of the retail strategy development, we proposed ways of attracting visitors to the Spinningfields quarter whilst avoiding a conflict between pedestrian movement, office access and retail deliveries.

Design Process


Our design approach and a proposed retail strategy resulted in huge commercial success of the development. This dynamic city centre quarter has become the city’s leading business destination and a place to leave, eat, drink, shop and be entertained.

Following the implementation of our proposal, Spinningfields has evolved to become the home for over 165 commercial organisations. It has also established itself as a cultural, retail, leisure and restaurant destination with some of the best independent
bars and restaurants, including The Oast House, Artisan, Australasia, Neighbourhood, The Long Bar and Alchemist. Spinningfields also has the added attraction of various pop-up bars and restaurants as well as exciting year-round public events programme.





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