Loved by Mancunians, the 130,000m2 Arndale shopping complex is a thriving shopping destination perfectly positioned at the heart of Manchester’s busy city centre.
When Arndale decided it was time to decorate the complex for the holiday season, MK Illumination UK knew precisely where to get inspiration: bees.
Bees have been part of Manchester’s identity since 1842, when a new city coat of arms was unveiled that partly depicts bees swarming across the globe, representing the industriousness of the “worker bees” then toiling in Manchester’s cotton mills, colloquially known as beehives.
The symbol faded from view for a while, then resurfaced in 2014 as part of a city-wide clean up and since then, bees have been everywhere, and MK Illumination designed a concept using the symbol of the worker bee as a starting point.
From the bee to the honeycomb – or at least, a honeycomb shape. That’s how the design concept developed. In order to give the idea more targeted appeal for Arndale’s fashion-conscious shoppers, the team took the hexagonal shape of the honeycomb and used this as the base for creating different elements and motifs in golden honeyed tones, which hung at various heights through the center.
The festive lighting featured over 75,000 thousand energy-efficient individual LED lights, all designed to tie into Manchester’s heritage and to complement the Worker Bee artwork that appears around Manchester on a regular basis.
On November 4th, the center lights were switched on to much celebration, and Manchester Arndale ran a special bee-themed giveaway throughout the holiday season to build on the “buzz” surrounding the new festive lighting and decoration, and they commissioned a series of Manchester Bee baubles for visitors to buy as gifts as part of their campaign.
The lighting and decoration was well-received by all, and social media posts and shares reflected this, too.