Factory Settings

Free to attend. No booking required.
A phonecase and a blue cartoon fish on a pink background by artist Jack Sachs.
Free to attend. No booking required.

To experience our site-specific artwork, head down to Aviva Studios – we're open 10am – 11pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Though we're closed on Mondays, you can still download the Factory Settings app and select the explore anywhere option.

Switch on and step into Factory Settings

Factory Settings allows you to access a whole new dimension to Aviva Studios through inventive and playful virtual experiences.

Choose a particular lens and inhabit experiences crafted by artists, playing with both the setting and the imagination, and the interplay between physical and virtual elements.

Accessed via a free AR app, these interactive encounters provide fresh perspectives on our productions, encourage exploration of the building – and invite you to become part of the work.

Jack Sachs: Power Up!

3D artist and illustrator Jack Sachs is the second artist to animate our new home – just in time for The Welcome, our spectacular series of events and performances celebrating the opening of Aviva Studios. Known for his colourful and cartoonish characters, Jack has made work for the likes of Nike, Spotify and Vice.

For Factory Settings, he’s created Power Up! – a vibrant world of weird and wonderful digital creatures who need your help exploring Aviva Studios. You can play with friends or explore alone, and customise each of the artworks.

Ready to explore? Download Factory Settings app for iPhone here and Android here, or pop down to Aviva Studios and scan a QR code to download Factory Settings for free – and see the world differently through your screen.

Gareth Pugh: FacSimulate

Artwork by Gareth Pugh

Marking the launch of Factory Settings, iconic British fashion designer Gareth Pugh joins forces with digital artist Natalie Liu and Berlin-based creative studio NEEEU on a series of new Snapchat filters.

FacSimulate coincided with the opening of Free Your Mind – offering a first look at the aesthetic that defined the costumes which Pugh designed, while paying homage to the visual world created by the Wachowski sisters in 1999.

Featuring state-of-the-art visual effects, FacSimulate invites you to step into a brave new world. Try on liquid metal skin, shoot a self-portrait augmented by otherworldly digital ghosting or watch a towering 720ft AR character loom ominously over the Aviva Studios building in Manchester.

Drawing on the themes of The Matrix, Pugh’s designs raise questions about the body in a digital world – from the clothes we wear to how we move through simulated space. Free Your Mind asks in a world where humans are enslaved by algorithms – can we break free? And do we even want to? With FacSimulate, Pugh and NEEEU play with these questions and the tech that underpins them – the addictive allure of social media and the visual magic of AR.


Factory Settings is available to download and play for free.



Artist Gareth Pugh

App Development and Technical Direction NEEEU

Power Up!

Artist Jack Sachs

App Development and Technical Direction NEEEU

Commissioned and produced by Factory International


Access information

FacSimulate contains three experiences that you can use anywhere and two experiences that can be enjoyed in locations around our building, Aviva Studios.

The full address of the venue is Aviva Studios, Water St, Manchester M3 4JQ and the what3words is chop.feeds.chase.

You can approach Aviva Studios along Water Street (coming from Quay Street) or along Liverpool Road (coming from Deansgate or Castlefield). Both entrances to the building have double sets of glass doors.

There are accessible toilets on all public levels of our building.

Accessible toilets are located inside the main toilets space in the brick arches of the Social.

Here you’ll find a mixture of accessible cubicles with left- or right-hand transfer, towards the back of the space, as well as ambulant accessible cubicles with grab rails, as well as a Changing Places facility.

The toilets in the brick arches of the Social are split into male, female and gender neutral – all of which contain accessible cubicles. There are shared handwashing facilities in each arch – they have soap dispensers under the mirrors to your left and dryers to the right. There are separate handwashing facilities inside the accessible cubicles.

There are additional single-room accessible toilets in located in both Hall Foyers, at stalls and circle level.

You do not need a key to use the accessible toilets at Aviva Studios.

Once inside Aviva Studios, there is step-free access to all areas of the venue. The flooring throughout the building is smooth concrete.

The entrance to the Hall is by lift, escalator or stairs from one side of the Social beside the brick arches. There is only one escalator, and this will take you up to the Hall before the show, and will be reversed so that you can travel down at the end of the performance.

The Social has a range of seating, including those with arms and backs.

The bars in the Social and Hall Foyer have lowered accessible service points.

Our building is large. We have portable stools available to borrow if you would benefit from resting along the way during your visit.

We have wheelchair spaces and seats at standing events for all events.

Assistance dogs are welcome in our building, and we can provide mats and water bowls on request, just ask a host when you arrive. We can also take care of your assistance dog if you do not want to take your dog into the performance space. Please also refer to our assistance dogs policy.

If you are bringing an assistance dog to a ticketed event, please let us know in advance by contacting access@factoryinternational.org or calling our access phone number: 0161 817 4531 (phone lines are open 10am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday).

There is some written information in the app. If you would prefer to hear this read out, you can turn on text-to-speech.

If you already have any accessibility settings enabled on your mobile device, the Factory Settings app will automatically use these for you.

If you would like to see what to expect before using the app, you can watch a video of the experience beforehand.

You may feel some dizziness or vertigo when you look up from using the app, or look back at the real world. Take care and sit down if you need to!

One of the experiences you can choose in the app is an audio description of the experience created Mind’s Eye.

Getting here

Aviva Studios can be approached along Water Street (coming from Quay Street) or along Liverpool Road (coming from Deansgate or Castlefield).

Our closest stations are:

Salford Central station: 0.4 miles

Deansgate station and Deansgate-Castlefield tram: 0.6 miles

St Peter’s Square tram: 0.6 miles

Manchester Victoria station is approximately one mile from Aviva Studios

Manchester Piccadilly station is approximately 1.3 miles from Aviva Studios

Click on the links above to find detailed access information for each station.

By Bike

There are 40 bike parking spaces at Aviva Studios including space for two accessible bikes.

National Cycling Route 6 passes close to the venue and this TfGM webpage can help with route planning.

You can also hire bikes from on-street docking stations across the city centre. The closest docking stations to our venue are currently on Deansgate by Liverpool Road and (400m from the building) and by King Street (500m from the building). Take a look at Transport for Greater Manchester’s webpage for advice on cycle hire.

By Walking and Other Active Means

Aviva Studios can be approached along Water Street via Liverpool Road (coming from Deansgate or Castlefield).

If you're coming from Quay Street, the safest route to avoid construction works is via the cut-through opposite Gartside Street and past Booking.com.

All footways in the surrounding area are well lit and there are appropriate crossings across all main roads.

Pedestrians with visual impairment are recommended to approach the building via Water Street, from Liverpool Road. This route has traditional carriageway and footway design with fixed street furniture which should help with navigation to the entrance.

A footbridge at Left Bank in Spinningfields provides an accessible link across the River Irwell to Salford Central station, and a further footbridge also links Aviva Studios with the Salford area of Middlewood Locks.

Free bus services stop at all city-centre stations, and near to Aviva Studios along Deansgate, Bridge St and Quay St. Buses on these free routes are wheelchair accessible. For full details of the free bus routes, please visit the TfGM website.

There is a car park approximately 0.6 miles from Aviva Studios at Water Street Car Park, New Elm Rd, Manchester, M3 4JH.

There is also a NCP car park (Manchester Spinningfields) approximately 0.5 miles away from Aviva Studios at Spinningfields, New Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3BE. It has 35 accessible bays.

There are a small number of Blue Badge spaces along Water St and Quay St. Otherwise head towards Liverpool Road, Great John St and Lower Byrom St – close to our neighbours, the Science and Industry Museum where there are a small number of additional Blue Badge spaces.

For a list of other parking bays available in the area, visit Manchester City Council website.

Become a Member

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