From drawing board to Festival Square

Over the last few months, we’ve been working hard on preparations for Festival Square, the home of MIF in the heart of Manchester City Centre, and finally started the site build this week! We’ve hosted a series of free workshops from tile making to stool building; with many local residents and groups attending to create a part of Festival Square.

From December-April, we hosted a series of tile making workshops at Underway in Mayfield with our friends at Standard Practice, at which attendees got to design and decorate their very own Festival Square tile. All the tiles made at these workshops will go on to adorn the bars in Festival Square and we can’t wait for people to come down and see their artwork in all its glazed glory!

Following the success of the tile-making workshops, Standard Practice then hosted stool constructing workshops which will also be used at this year’s Festival Square. Sessions were held throughout April and May, with groups of budding enthusiasts learning that building a piece of furniture can be simple! Everyone who made a stool has also been invited to take it home with them following MIF19.

Nicolas Henninger (Office for Crafted Architecture) and Paloma Gormley (Practice Architecture) have teamed up to give Festival Square an exciting new look this year, with contributions from students at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University. The 2nd Year students chose this project as part of Unit X, and responded to briefs for interior design, dining areas and lounge furniture. Over 50 students pitched their concepts and designs to a panel of the MIF team and industry experts back in April, and the winning designs are currently under construction…

Festival Square will be open from noon till late every day from Fri 5 July to Sun 21 July, and admission is always free. The Festival Square team have been busy with our food & drink residencies, and last week finalised the street food menus for all to enjoy this July. They’re now waiting for a sunny day to sample ice cream from Gingers Comfort Emporium, including a special MIF19 inspired flavour! As well as great food and plenty to drink, there’ll be live music every day and DJs until late every night – including many special guests and some spectacular surprises. The full live music programme will be announced in June.

Legendary chef, Paul Heathcote, has curated a series of Supper Clubs and Lazy lunches with a stellar array of chefs. MIF’s Lazy lunches will be held in Festival Square’s intimate Glass House for indulgent weekend lunches with a difference. Four of the finest chefs in the North West have teamed up to create and cook an exclusive MIF menu of four fantastic courses, all served over a relaxed two-and-a-half-hour sitting – and if you’re feeling really indulgent, there are also wine flights to match.

Last but not least, our ever-popular Festival Walking Tours exploring Manchester’s rich past, vital present and fascinating future are returning to MIF19 this year which all depart from Festival Square.


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