Excelsior Works by YOUTH

"Their vision was to link to the site’s heritage, whilst avoiding design which strayed into clichéd historical references which are being replicated across the city time and time again. "

YOUTH is a design studio based in Manchester. Their aim is to continually challenge both the creative industry and themselves. They believe that the role of design is greater than simply making spaces look good and create outcomes that find the balance between life and style, culture, and commerce.

Their approach is collaborative and the output is honest — raw and real, yet highly refined and considered. Driven by a team of unconventional thinkers whose youthful grit and conceptual rigour is met with a commitment to design detail and delivery. 

Anyone reading a book in Manchester in the late 19th Century, the chances are, it was produced in Excelsior Works - the largest printing and bookbinding factory of its kind at the time. It is now home to 108 apartments with a design aesthetic unlike anything else in Manchester.

From concept to completition, YOUTH wanted to create new functionality for residents in this urban area, partnering the essence of its vibrant, local landscape alongside an immeasurable industrial history.

Their vision was to link to the site’s heritage, whilst avoiding design which strayed into clichéd historical references which are being replicated across the city time and time again. 

The result was a focus on ink-stained oak throughout the communal areas and apartments, inspired by the printing presses, a subtle reminder of the liquid form which was once the backbone of the 19th century factory.

They wanted to create a sense of fluidity to represent the nearby canals which are so closely associated with Manchester, opting for a bespoke LED lighting feature which ebbs and flows from the ceiling. Exposed, metal mesh is also prominent on the ceiling, a nod to its industrial background.

"Their approach is collaborative and the output is honest — raw and real, yet highly refined

and considered. "

YOUTH co-director Liam McGroarty said: “It was a privilege to be able to take Excelsior Works from concept to completion. It had to become something more than a development clinging on to its past, and thanks to the belief of the developers, we created something totally different from what people expected in a residential scheme. We focused upon creating a brand and lifestyle complementary to the location’s surroundings and future residents.”

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