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PLY, a bright new bar, restaurant and creative space has opened its doors on Stevenson Square in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, the creative heart of the city.


Serving antipasti and authentic Neapolitan pizza from a giant mirror ball pizza oven built by a team from Naples, PLY is a light, modern bar which offers a selection of craft beers, globally sourced spirits and artisan coffee, and is also a creative space to produce work, exhibit and socialise. Alongside the drink and food offer the space features a library and book exchange, a doodle wall and will host regular exhibitions by international artists with renowned illustrator Will Broome kicking off proceedings in May.


The branding and interior styling are by PLY’s creative partner, Instruct Studio who were tasked with creating a cohesive visual style throughout the venue and across all printed and digital collateral. This overall control allowed colours and typefaces to flow through the space, from the signage icons to the stationery. The 5500 square foot former textile warehouse was stripped back revealing the services of the building, then walls were whited out to enable colours and textures to breathe around the space. Pastel tones cover Formica tables, bright gradient colours shine from light boxes in every window and a layer of warmth is created with a tiled cork floor.


Keeping the space largely open-plan the lighting has been carefully designed to create sections within the space, featuring Italian Flos drop and Nud cast concrete pendants, which create a more intimate atmosphere at night. Furniture is a mixture of classic and crafted pieces with classic Eames designs sitting alongside custom pieces made in Manchester, Instruct worked with Islington Mill’s Workroom Industries to build various items from light boxes to signage.


John Owens from Instruct Studio comments: “When working on the concept with the owners of PLY we wanted to keep things interesting, and took our inspiration from beyond Manchester. We looked for ideas in new places, including the cities and countries we’ve traveled to and the venues where we’ve felt most social and comfortable. ” The permanent artwork that forms part of the space is by Layla Sailor, who was introduced to PLY as part of its 2014 preview, the #PLYin90seconds exhibition, which featured seven internationally renowned creatives, who each created a 90 second pizza themed film via their own artistic medium. Starting with Will Broome, the work of the #plyin90seconds artists, will drive the bar’s 2015 exhibition programme, using the whole space as a creative canvas.

Design: Instruct Studio
Photography: Sebastian Matthes – MANOX

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