The giant lights double as seating, shelter, and heating, and reference a range of styles and eras – everything from art deco and midcentury to art nouveau. A huge Anglepoise-style work lamp casts a beam of graphics across a nearby building, and passers-by can lounge underneath a patterned Tiffany lamp or a bright green banker’s desk light.
They’re intended to turn the surrounding square into a meeting point for the city, but also pay homage to key moments in Manchester’s history, which are revealed in subtle design details.
An oversized Art Deco lamp is covered in magnified atoms – chosen to mark research by Manchester University’s Ernest Rutherford which led to the splitting of the first atom; while the Tiffany lamp is patterned with open books and pen nib motifs, as a reference to the city’s oldest free public library.
The work of Alan Turing is included in the bright green desk lamp, which has an inside shade decorated with code, and a 1950s style table lamp is covered with honeycombs in a celebration of Manchester’s hard-working history and ‘busy bee’ reputation.
And if the enormous lighting isn’t enough of a draw, the entire piazza is in the process of being redeveloped, with new landscaping and overlapping wall and floor graphics installed to help rejuvenate the area.