Shelia Bird Studio clients seize the opportunity to ‘create places with a pulse’

Independent design practice, Sheila Bird Studio, is launching into 2021 with a new mantra, having completed four iconic Manchester refurbishment projects.

The company insists that offices and workspaces must have ‘a pulse’ in a post pandemic world.

Sheila Bird Studio has completed Hilton House (31,000 sq ft), Circle Square (400,000 sq ft), 86 Princess Street (48,000 sq ft) and North Star (11,500 sq ft), with a strong pipeline of active and future projects to take forward, including Liverpool’s Duke and Parr (55, 000 sq ft) building and Peak AI’s workspace (9000 sq ft) reinvention in Neo, Manchester.

Each of the recently completed projects have remained on programme over the last 12 months and are examples of how to ‘re-think the office environment’, going through a creative process to identify the future communities that will use their spaces and how those spaces reflect the changing world.

Atul Bansal, co-founder of Sheila Bird Studio, said: “We’ve evolved the idea of the designer’s sample board into ‘life’ boards that include people, activities, values and emotions alongside traditional colours, materials and textures. We take our clients on a journey to understand and curate what it looks like to create places with a ‘pulse’.

“We did this with CERT property on Hilton House in Manchester. It was a love affair that started 20 years ago; this iconic piece of Manchester architecture was under refurbishment and we knew we needed to celebrate its soul and stay faithful to its history, whilst giving it a tenant base it deserves. The building has such a special ‘vibe’ about it, which is brought alive by ground floor tenants The Feel Good Club, a coffee shop and space focussed on holistic wellbeing.

Atul concludes: “People are realising buildings have to have ‘a pulse’, a purpose and shared values to attract the right occupiers. They need to stand for something and speak to you when you walk through the door. As social and environmental responsibilities become critically important in the corporate world, meaningful investment is about more than bricks and mortar and short term thinking. For us it’s not just about just designing interiors anymore, it’s about supporting the creation of ecosystems. We’re helping to curate the communities that ultimately give places their life and soul.”

Community is at the heart of all Sheila Bird Studio’s projects and it holds a strong ethos of only working with people with a strong sense of purpose who are willing to embrace new ideas and create spaces with an attitude.

Jon Humphreys, creative partner & co-owner at Sheila Bird Studio, said: “We’ve seen the increasing impact of the virtual world on the creation of new spaces and places, exacerbated by the pandemic. The Feel Good Club is a brilliant example of an online community creating a physical space to visit. Conversations have moved online over the last nine months and social media usage is up 45% so the real challenge for society now is how to bring those conversations safely back into the physical world. We’re helping our clients to understand the new opportunities opening up.”

Kiera Lawler, founder of Feel Good Club said: “The success of the space so far just shows how important wellbeing and connection is, especially during these difficult times – not just for our community but for society in general. We’ve been overwhelmed by how well received the physical space at Hilton House has been and are in discussions about rolling the idea out into other sites in the UK.”