Manchester Lamps - CODAworx

Manchester Lamps

Submitted by Acrylicize


Location: Manchester, United Kingdom

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $850,000

Project Team


The Property Alliance

The Property Alliance

Artist Team




Five playfully oversized lamps, reflecting various eras and centuries of innovation in Manchester, have been built in Piccadilly Place.

Each of the five installations marks a significant local historical innovation, it’s time period echoed by the lamps distinctive design style; Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Mid Century, Victorian and Contemporary.

Inspired by the famous Sir Robert Peel quote, ‘What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow’, this public art sculpture honours Manchester’s illustrious past whilst optimistically looking towards the future.

A visual narrative of motifs and graphics are cleverly woven into the shades of each lamp to represent different stories of different eras. The honeycomb design lattices across the 1950’s bed side light denotes the famous Mancunian ‘worker bee’ mantra whilst the green canopy of the bankers desk light is decorated with the scrambled code inspired by Alan Turing’s cracking of the Enigma code.


The client was looking for community activation of this public plaza, at the heart of a transit node in Manchester, UK. Previously a 'pass through' space it's now an area to dwell, to linger, to meet.


The Property Alliance Group commissioned Acrylicize as the sole contractor, seeking a team who could take on all aspects of the community engagement, conceptual development, planning, and development required to deliver an activated solution.

Additional Information

Additional details for each lamp: Innovation and Education : 1903 Art Nouveau Tiffany Lamp: Pays homage to Manchester’s history of education including the city’s Chetham’s Library, which houses the UK’s oldest free public reference library. The sculpture’s canopy is adorned with open books alongside classical pen nibs and square academic caps. Advances in Science and Physics : 1932 Art Deco Style Lamp: Takes inspiration from both the beautiful Art Deco buildings in the city, and the splitting of the first atom which was achieved by research conducted by Ernest Rutherford at Manchester University. This huge global advancement for physics is illustrated in the magnified atoms, which can be spotted within the lampshade’s expansive abstract formations. Industrious community : Mid Century Table Lamp circa 1950: An enlarged version of an everyday 1950’s domestic table lamp, which celebrates the hard work of the local people. The city is famous for it’s ‘busy bee’ hard-working past, which is represented by the honeycomb pattern on the lampshade. Dedication, perseverance and discovery: 1909 Banker’s Desk Lamp: Once popularised because of its recognisable green shade, which softens the bulb making it easier to work at night. This lamp represents the dedication of world famous computer pioneer Dr. Alan Turing. The glowing canopy integrates a scrambled code, inspired by the circuit board patterns and the ground breaking Enigma code. Future, Innovation and Creativity : The Iconic Anglepoise Lamp: Turning upwards projecting a graphic pattern onto the surrounding wall, designed to represent the future and next chapter of the city. It shines a light on future possibilities, not just for the people of Manchester but for the world’s community at large. The shafts of angled light playfully interact with the angles of the surrounding architecture and urban environment.