JOLIE’s Innovative Approach to Show Homes: Fostering Community and Social Sustainability at Victoria Riverside, Manchester

Interior design studio Jolie are leading the way with their unique multi-sensory approach to commercial residential design, epitomised in their design of the new marketing suite at Victoria Riverside in Manchester, for Far East Consortium (FEC). 

Beyond simply showcasing the interior design scheme of the future development, Jolie believe that the marketing suite should serve as a direct reflection of the community which will one day reside in the building, encouraging organic social interaction, while promoting wellbeing and inclusivity.

The concept of the traditional commercial residential development has evolved significantly in the wake of the pandemic, with a greater emphasis being placed on community and social sustainability. Jolie has embraced this shift by reimagining what a marketing suite should offer in return, raising the bar for all residential developers keen to differentiate themselves in oversaturated city environments like Manchester, or London, and successfully attract potential clients over their competition.

An authentic experience

With the Victoria Riverside development still two years off completion — and FEC currently selling the flats and apartments off plan — Jolie wanted to give potential investors in Manchester a taste of the overall atmosphere of the development ahead of time. Whereas traditional marketing suites typically present a pared-down interior of an apartment, the marketing suite at Victoria Riverside was conceived as a miniature version of the prestigious Tower A reception, which will serve the main concierge for the whole development. 

Representing a far more authentic experience of what the future development will offer than a traditional showhome decorated with impersonal objects as a catchall for the decor styles of a diverse array of future tenants, Jolie’s marketing suite sets the tone for a development that has community at its heart, encouraging social interaction and a fostering a deep sense of inclusivity.

By taking a hospitality-driven approach to marketing suite design, Jolie have delivered prospective buyers a much more engaging environment within which to acquaint themselves with the future development, more akin to a luxury hotel lobby than a traditional sales suite. Everything from the future material and colour palette, right down to the fragrance and ambient electronica soundscaping of the future Tower A reception is reflected in the Victoria Riverside marketing suite, allowing the space to serve tangentially as a test-bed for each of the design choices as the development progresses.

Building community through sensory design

As a sensory-led design studio, Jolie believes in incorporating scientific sensory research to emotionally drive people in their environment. The open plan layout of the suite features comfortable aesthetics that offer a point of difference to other residential developments, delivering a scheme that feels grounded, nourishing and non-pretentious. 

Designed for the ‘culturally curious’, who FEC believe will be their core tenant market at Victoria Meadowside, the marketing suite’s positioning as a ‘destination with purpose’ reflects a desire for communal residential spaces that don’t feel like a ‘bolt on’ to the building, but more an extension of the residents’ own homes. 

“Today’s marketing suites should be warm and inviting,” says Jolie founder and CEO Franky Rousell, “creating an atmosphere where future residents can connect with one another and form lasting bonds. Post-pandemic buyers and renters are prioritising authenticity and connection, and are actively seeking spaces that reflect these values. Developers like FEC recognise that fostering a sense of belonging can be a powerful selling point. Tenants are far more likely to buy into a community where they feel connected right from the start.” 

There are plenty of natural materials, earthy colour palettes, and biophilic design principles incorporated within the design, creating a calming and welcoming atmosphere, while still delivering all the brand requirements of a traditional marketing suite. From outside, reeded glass and minimal printed signage give a residential impression from the street, while warm wood framing has been used on the exterior to set the tone and entice people in. By combining powerful energising reds with lighter fresher blue hues at the entrance, Jolie provide guests with an authentic and on-brand first impression of FEC, before encouraging them to transition through to a calmer and more muted toned lounge area, in which they can discuss details of their potential new home. 

Balanced hues of beige and natural light greens assist with the softening of this atmosphere in the lounge pockets, and aid with clear thinking and a sense of ‘coming home ahead of time’. The sales desk has been reinvented as a kitchen table, providing a sense of home – where families come together to discuss everything from dinner plans to finances – and helping to disarm any stuffy notions of ‘sales chat’. Curtain dividers around these areas add softness as well as acoustic properties, allowing spaces to quickly transform from open settings to more private with ease.

As with all Jolie schemes, scent also plays a significant role in sensory zoning and emotionally driving guests within the space. At the entrance, black tea and sandalwood have been used to create an impressive and inspiring welcome, while in the lounging sales areas bergamot, lavender and neroli are utilised to help guests feel more at ease and open to social interactions.

Photography: Billy Bolton


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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