Located in a 19th century Palazzo-style warehouse in central Manchester, the brief was to transform the space into a delicatessen designed to appeal to a new community of city centre dwellers.

The delicatessen’s presence is announced on the street by bold graphics spelling out ‘O L I V E’ across the five front windows. Designed by architects in Cheshire, the frameless glass entrance gives onto a small flight of stairs leading to the main retail floor, flanked by a waist slot shelf for magazines that forms a bench at a higher level to allow diners to observe street life while eating their purchased food.

The plan was developed to maximise display space, while maintaining surveillance from the monolithic stainless steel counter that runs the length of the back wall. Solid oak is used for all primary shelving elements, giving architectural mass to the display and a sense of quality unusual for this kind of store. Behind the counter, shelving wraps the internal walls and slides in a continuous band behind the white plaster planes.

Lighting emphasises the slot motif first seen at the entrance, by the use of translucent glass panels behind the counter, reinforcing the horizontality of the back wall display. Elsewhere a mixture of general and point lighting dramatise the space.

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