By Patrick Dennehy
Influential Manchester mosaicist Mark Kennedy has been commissioned to create the new logos that will decorate the recently refurbished Affleck’s Palace.
Known simply as Afflecks, the building is one of Manchester’s hidden shopping gems and will be unrecognisable to many people after a dramatic £750,000 overhaul.
When the scaffolding starts to be removed this week the major noticeable change will be that the previously white stonework has been changed to red and sandstone.
Manchester based property firm Bruntwood are behind the work which, when complete, will also see the ground floor stonework on Church Street being cleaned and a new frontage added to that side of the building.
In a celebration of all things Mancunian, the building’s owners have looked to one of the city’s own to commemorate the reopening and mark the beginning of a prosperous new future.
Mr Kennedy said: “This building is a Manchester landmark. I hope that my new logos will go hand in hand with the building’s ethos.”
His first panel, measuring 4 metres by 1 and a half metres will be unveiled next week.
Afflecks is without doubt as far from the major shopping labels in the city centre as you can get. Mr Kennedy’s original artwork will be the perfect complement to the character of the building, although it could be two years before all the artwork is complete.
Improvements to the building have included a complete rewire of the building as well as the installation of new lights and a CCTV system.
It is hoped that Afflecks will retain its unique character once the refurbishment is completed. However as Mr Kennedy said: “You have to go forward with a different attitude”
Afflecks, which first opened in 1982 and was formerly a department store, is spread over five storeys and boasts around 50 shops.
Selling everything from retro clothes to antique bikes, it is a particular favourite for fashion students, punks and people interested in all things alternative.
Student Tamsin Eames, 20, described it as one of her favourite shops, saying: “I love Afflecks because you can find some real gems that, unlike mainstream fashion, are individual and really represent your sense of style. It’s easy to find a bargain too.”
Second-Floor trader Sean Berry explained that trade was declining when the building work started. He said: “Business is down full stop. I think some people are using the building work as an excuse, as I haven’t seen a dramatic drop in numbers since the work started.”
Mr Berry is glad the work is being done but wants the building to retain its character and appearance.
He said: “From a health and safety perspective some of the work was a no brainer. But I hope they don’t clean it up too much.”
It is hoped that the work will provide a new lease of life for one of Manchester’s most original and independent buildings.