We Love Manchester!

Posted by Lucy Devane

on May 26, 2017

Categories: Art, Charity, exhibition, Gallery, Manchester, Photography

Stevenson Square Graffiti


This week has been a sombre one following news of Monday evenings events at the Manchester MEN Arena.

Although business has returned to normal for some, our heartfelt thoughts go out to the families and friends of the people affected by the incident, and recognise the hard work of the emergency services and the local people who bravely and kindly responded to the aftermath.

Despite the atmosphere and the difficulties – within hours’ stories and images started to emerge that captured acts of kindness, strength & sprit of the people Manchester. The outhouse in Stevenson Square is a popular spot for graffiti artists and they were quick to show support.

The #WeLoveMCR charity campaign has raised almost a million pounds for the victims’ families. A just giving page has been set up where people can donate here:


On Tuesday, Our Studio decided to reflect and contemplate quietly over at the Manchester City Art Gallery.

The team took some time out for a relaxed lunch in the gallery café and spent the afternoon exploring the current photography exhibition on show there.

The exhibition titled: Women and Children; and Loitering Men, documents the work of Salford born artist Shirley Baker. Baker used the medium of photography to document urban, post war communities living and working in Manchester between the 1960’s and the 1980’s.

It was great to see previously unseen photographs of historic Manchester architecture and a fitting exhibition to reflect on our city’s strength, creativity and resilience.

(The Shirley Baker Exhibition is open until Monday 28 August 2017. Details can be found here. )

New year, new shoot!

Posted by Sam

on January 26, 2016

Categories: Manchester, Our Studio, Photography

OS has grown since our last photoshoot, so we thought we’d get some more snaps done for our website to show our new team members, Owen Mason and Andy Charlton. As we made our way to Cutting Room Square from our office, the Manchester heavens typically opened! We managed to find shelter in a little coffee shop whilst waiting for the sun to come out. And thankfully it did! We also had some photos taken of our lovely new office in the newly refurbished Sevendale House – you can see more of these on the ‘about’ page of our website.OS Shoot 2OS shootos shoot3Our_studio_walking in ManchesterOur_studio_office_webOur_studio_walking in Manchester2

Our Studio Photo Shoot

Posted by Sam

on August 30, 2014

Categories: Manchester, Photography

Last week we spent a morning having Our Studio photography done for our new website. Photographer and friend, Neil Shearer suggested a few places near our office in the Northern Quarter, one of them being Cutting Room Square next to the beautifully converted St Peter’s Church in Ancoats. Hardly ever venturing out of the Northern Quarter, we were all so amazed at the development in this area – a true example of what restoration and urban regeneration can do to a place. This square was where factory workers used to cut large swathes of material in the olden days, but now provides a focal point for people living in and working in the area to get together.


The Bee is Manchester’s symbol and has been ever since seven bees were incorporated into the city’s coat of arms in 1842. In the 19th century Manchester was a hive of activity, its mills and factories swarming with hard-working citizens. There is even a blog that documents the appearance of the Manchester bee. http://themanchesterbees.tumblr.com/





My big fat North American architectural adventure

Posted by benp

on September 21, 2012

Categories: Architecture, Art, Photography, Travel

During my recent visit to Toronto, Montreal and NYC…..in between eating huge amounts of food….. I couldn’t help but snap all the architecture i saw around me. This is by no means all the buildings i saw, but a selection of the ones i found most interesting. So I won’t go into detail about each one but it’s just a selection of nice pics with their name, location and architect…….enjoy!


Royal Ontario Museum - Daniel Libeskind

Royal Ontario Museum - Daniel Libeskind

Art Gallery of Ontario - Frank Gehry

Art Gallery of Ontario - Frank Gehry

Art Gallery of Ontario - Frank Gehry

Art Gallery of Ontario - Frank Gehry

Art Gallery of Ontario - Frank Gehry

Ontario College of Art and Design - Alsop Architects

Ontario College of Art and Design - Alsop Architects



Habitat '67 - Moshe Safdie

Habitat '67 - Moshe Safdie

Expo '67 Geodesic Dome - Richard Buckminster Fuller

1976 Olympic Stadium Montreal - Roger Taillibert

New York, USA

Guggenheim NYC - Frank Lloyd Wright

Guggenheim NYC - Frank Lloyd Wright

Guggenheim NYC - Frank Lloyd Wright

Beekman Tower - Frank Gehry

4 World Trade Centre - Richard Rogers + Fumihiko Maki

The Highline NYC - various inc - James Corner Field Operations_Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Highline NYC - various inc - James Corner Field Operations_Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Highline 23 - Denari Architects

New Museum of Contemporary Art - SANAA


Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Posted by benp

on May 26, 2011

Categories: Architecture, Art, Photography

I was in Bilbao last month and thought i’d post a few pics i took whilst there…………………….

I went to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao designed by Frank Gehry which was an amazing building (even on the dull and damp day I was there). The building is clad in titanium panels that gives the building its soft and shimmering facade. A great deal of time was spent by the architect in developing the look of the panels because the exact mix of heat and distortion was required to reach the texture he was after. The glass was also a challenge and at the time of conception because the expanses of glass he wanted to give the building it’s transparency needed to also keep out the heat of the sun and prevent the building becoming a greenhouse. This was achieved by mixing minute metal particles in the glass that couldn’t be seen by the naked eye but reflected a large percentage of the heat back outside.

The second image is of Jeff Coons’ Puppy which is a huge sculpture covered in living flowers outside the Guggenheim entrance. So iconic a sculpture, it has become an unofficial mascot of Bilbao.

The final image is the Basque Health Department in the centre of Bilbao which was designed by Coll-Barreu Arquitectos. An impressive double skinned facade on the corner of two major streets that has interesting ice-like reflective and refractive qualities.

Chetham’s School of Music Progress

Posted by benp

on March 22, 2011

Categories: Architecture, Photography

As it was a nice day yesterday i popped down to the Chetham’s School of Music site to see how it was getting on since we completed the visuals in July 2009 which can be seen here. The brick cladding has really started to come to life and the structural shapes cast by the concrete look great against the blue sky. The new school is due for completion in March 2012 and you can read more about it on Chetham’s website here.

Architecture+Design Scotland

Posted by benp

on February 18, 2011

Categories: Architecture, Our Studio, Photography

First post of the new year and thought i’d mention a bit about an exhibition i went to in Glasgow earlier this year.

The Natural Factory exhibition was held at the ‘Lighthouse’ designed by Glasgows most famous architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh with later modernisation and additional design by Gareth Hoskins Architects. The exhibition showcased the past, current and future uses of indigenous Scottish timber – from tree to paper – but in particular the potential to use timber as a building material. It is the first in a series exhibitions investigating sustainable construction products. One piece that really caught my eye was this staircase shown above, created by bonding layers of wood together along the line of the grain to create this amazing pattenation and texture when shaped and polished.

Also one of the architects showcasing their sustainable work was Gaia architects who specialise in sustainable and “PassivHaus” design. They are currently working on designs for Sam’s home in South Manchester which aims to get the PassivHaus standard of efficiency which typically achieve an energy saving of 90% compared to existing housing. We will keep you updated with progress on the design, but here’s an early design stage model of the project.

HDRI lighting

Posted by benp

on December 14, 2010

Categories: 3D, Our Studio, Photography

HDRI (High Dynamic Range Image) lighting was developed to help create more realistic lighting and reflection conditions for matching computer generated images and animations to photography and filmed footage. The technique involves capturing multiple exposures of the same photo by bracketing the exposure time from under exposed through to over exposed. This allows the camera to capture a much larger contast range than can be captured in one photo and tries to mimick what can be seen by the higher contrast ratio of the human eye.

Once the photos are captured (usually between 3 and 8 seperate exposures) they can be merged together into one HDR image or radiance map. This will have much more information than a standard photo allowing it to be used in 3DS max to calculate the lighting for your scene. The HDR image is captured using a reflective sphere or light probe. This allows you to take multiple exposures from a fixed position whilst capturing almost a full 360 degree image of the surrounding environment. This image or light probe (once processed) can be wrapped around a 3D scene and match the same lighting and reflective conditions as the original photo or filmed footage.

The two images below show the computer generated mirrored sphere matched into the original reference photo. At this stage some final colour/contrast adjustments can be made in 3ds max to match the render with the background as closely as possible.

We are currently in the process of creating a christmas animation using this lighting technique, so check back soon to see the finished piece or work.

Tate Britain – Fiona Banner

Posted by benp

on October 25, 2010

Categories: Art, Photography

This next exhibit is from the TATE Britain and like the ‘sunflower seeds’ exhibit below, plays with space and scale to create a huge impact. Fiona Banner has taken two decomissioned fighter planes and exhibited them in different ways. The one shown here is the jaguar fighter jet sprawled on it’s back across the floor suggestive of it’s animal name and chromed with a mirror finish reflecting the onlookers and space around it. The other plane (seen in the background) being a harrier jump jet hung from the ceiling like a captured animal trophy. Swirled markings all over the wings and tail resemble feathers creating a further link to it’s name.  Both very impressive and worth a look if you’re down in London, otherwise read a bit more about them here.

Tate Modern – Ai Weiwei

Posted by benp

on October 25, 2010

Categories: Art, Photography

After a weekend in London looking at the latest exhibitions, I have added my favourite two from the TATE Modern and the TATE Britain. This first one is called ‘Sunflower seeds’ by Ai Weiwei which is made up of 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds, each one being individually sculpted and hand painted in china. The exhibit located in the Turbine hall of the TATE Modern has had a lot of press recently partly due to the fact that visitors have been banned from walking on the exibit because of the dust kicked up……………..thankfully you could still get close to handle the seeds resulting in individual creations by visitors all along the edge of the turbine hall.  Shapes, messages and patterns retaining at least some of the interaction that Ai Weiwei intended. Read more on the exhibit here.