Music and stage inspire new backstage bar at Manchester Arena

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A new exclusive backstage bar has been created at Manchester Arena, inspired by music and stage references.

Operator SMG Europe has transformed the 250 sq m space into the Plus One bar, with 88 covers and additional space for 40 people standing. It worked with Manchester-based creative studio NoChintz which led on the bar’s identity, interior design and branding.

Taking inspiration from various musical and stage references, the design team used studio-style lighting and bespoke microphone installations.

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Features include bespoke graphics based on scientific vibration patterns that were printed directly onto the table tops and song lyrics from prominent Manchester bands that were hand illustrated and scanned before being applied directly to internal walls. An arena crowd scene has been made into a feature in the bathrooms.

Furniture was inspired by the setting, with drum stools and upholstered flight cases used as seating throughout the space.

Key features included a large mesh panel installation, which was applied to the walls behind the bespoke fixed seating (pictured above). This created the idea of sound level controls on an amplifier.

Other walls were kept simple using concrete-effect finishes and muted colours to set off the bar’s bright orange branding. The main entrance to the bar has the same orange branding, which spills on to the floor in a spotlight arrangement, alongside custom painted graphics on the walls and doors.

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The team chose commercial laminate flooring laid in a large-scale herringbone pattern throughout the space and concrete-effect tiling to the toilet areas.

Matt Ward, event and PR manager at Manchester Arena said: “For the last 20 years Manchester Arena has played host to countless global stars and welcomed millions of visitors through its doors.

“From the outset we wanted to create a bar, which nodded to both the arena’s history and the city itself. The minute we met NoChintz it was clear to see that they had Manchester in their blood and the vision to bring music and Manchester into the design.”

NoChintz director Natalie Gray added: “As a Manchester-based company ourselves, we were immensely proud to be involved in this project. Music, stage and the city of Manchester are at the core of the design for Plus One and these all underpinned the project from start to finish.

“Major design features such as the amplifiers combined with subtle touches such as the drum stools work together to create an environment which is unmistakably linked to the Arena itself.”

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