Material Source Studio has opened its doors, offering architects and designers in the North West the opportunity to immerse themselves in ‘beautifully useful’ products and materials.

The first of its kind in the UK, the 15,000sqft studio is situated in the Grade II listed Hanover Building in NOMA. Set across two levels, it features a wealth of inspirational exhibits and interactive displays from 35+ leading brands operating in the commercial interiors and built environment sectors. It also includes an 80-seat theatre, a CPD area, a 300+ book library, 7 meeting spaces, a co-working hub and a podcast studio. Plus, an internal garden and a fully mature, 6-metre tree, spanning both floors.

The space is enhanced further with a seasonally-changing Gallery, opening with two exhibitions as part of the Material Source Studio Presents series. “From the Ground up: A preview” comprises a celebration of innovation in biomaterial development, and “Coo Birds by May Wild Studio” features the local studio’s signature Coo Bird sculptures, inspired by Manchester’s pigeon population.

Fusing the creative acumen of Darren Clanford with the operational experience of Michael Rogan, Material Source Studio was a venture born out of a fervent desire to support and champion the North West’s creative communities. The addition of David Smalley as commercial director bolstered the vast amounts of experience both Darren and Michael bring to the table.

“With Material Source Studio, we’ve had nothing but support from the design community of the North. And, for this, I can’t thank them enough. It’s kept us positive through a pretty tough transformation over the past two years. 

“The Studio has been designed by the team at Material Source led by Darren, the partners and the A&D community. I’d like it to be used by everyone as a place to work, meet and, also, socialise. Something we’ve all missed lately.

“I personally can’t wait for the talk series we’ll be running in our Theatre space, especially the sessions focused on how we can influence the wellbeing of everyone who walks through our door. After being empty for almost 50 years, it will be great to see the Hanover Building alive again”, comments Michael Rogan, operations director and co-founder of Material Source Studio.

Best in the business: 35 built environment brands showcase their products to visitors

Making up the Studio’s core offering are bespoke partner PODs – created by neighbouring design and build studio, Tim Denton – and showcasing paint, tiles, flooring and wallcoverings, furniture, lighting and smart solutions, fabric, bathroom accessories, plants and acoustic panels. 

The full list of founding partners includes:

Allgood, Alusid, Atkinson & Kirby, Autex Acoustics, Bespoke Atelier, BOBO1325, Brunner, Britton, Burlington, Casa Ceramica, CDUK, Clearwater, Concept Cubicle Systems, Commecaart, Cosentino, Crown Paints, Crosswater, Darwen Terracotta, Dline, Dyson, Ege Carpets, Forbo, Gresham, Karndean, Light Forms, Lutron, Neon Creations, NOMA, Oasis Plants, Panaz, Pfleiderer, Pixelmax, Pixite, Radii Planet Group, Rug Atelier, Sixteen3, Smile Plastics, TopBrewer, Whitebirk Sink Company.

In addition to the interactive PODs, products from all partners are featured in-situ throughout the space, offering further inspiration to visitors. The entire scheme has been developed by creative director, Darren Clanford, who carefully curated a unique ambience for every zone.

When serving a design driven audience, it goes without saying that the interiors of Material Source Studio needed to be aspirational. Working with products and materials from the best built environment brands in the business allowed us to create a versatile palette of dynamic, on-trend schemes.

“Spanning a range of ‘zones’, from our 80-seat theatre, to the podcast studio, never-before-seen bespoke pieces from our partners are featured throughout, illustrating the extensive capabilities of each and every one”, comments Darren Clanford, creative director and co-founder of Material Source Studio on the design of the space.

The Studio’s opening hours are 10am – 6.30pm Monday to Friday (closed weekends and bank holidays), and it operates an open-door policy. Events will be advertised on, where you can also find out more information on all partners.


About Phoebe Train

Phoebe is a Marketing and Events Executive, who joined the BCFA as an English graduate in 2021. Working closely with designers and BCFA members, Phoebe has published an array of content for Design Insider.
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