A venue can make or break a party, so when Manchester club The Warehouse Project prepared to move home, it rightly put the new space at the heart of its brief to designers Studio Moross. Its new space is the cavernous, disused Mayfield railway depot, abandoned since 1960, which has been transformed into a 10,000-capacity club. This space provided inspiration throughout the studio’s rebrand, from being a basis for a grid system to acting as a canvas for a set of electrifying animated films.
“The headline in the brief from the team at WHP was ‘the venue is the hero,’” Studio Moross tells us. “We wanted to capture the vast scale of the space with a creative film, so we chose to collaborate with Nic Hamilton, whose work is a blend of architectural and atmospheric beauty. Nic has an ability to capture the emotion of club spaces beautifully and his videos lead the viewer from the buildings details to the destruction of reality as you lose yourself in a rave.”
“Transformational projects in specific spaces are great to work on,” Nic says, “[as] you get to imagine and then create a spectrum of work around an event, and a vibe from the informational through to the experiential, while thinking about the moments that occur at these parties. The haze, the strobes, the blacked out side rooms, the kick drums, the posters, weird people in the smoking area and a sped up trip to the after party with a phone full of beautifully blurry pics.”
The project particularly resonated with Nic because of the “potential of raves like WHP to reinvigorate otherwise unused parts of a city”. Stills from Nic’s films are also used across the campaign’s collateral.
Since each season at the club would host 36 different shows, Studio Moross decided against a central artwork and instead chose to adapt the visuals to each season and its performers. The team will work with a different artist each season, which they say “keeps the creative moving forward and creates a platform to showcase artists”. They’re also hoping to expand this into art installations within the space as well.
As for the branding, Studio Moross redrew the original WHP ‘heads’ icon, not wanting to stray too far from the legacy of the club’s original branding, and keep the venue at the centre of the story. To the same end, the Depot’s architectural blueprints were used to devise a grid, which acts as a graphic framework to house content across the visual identity.
Meanwhile, type designer Kia Tasbihgou was commissioned to develop a new custom typeface, WHP Display. “The typeface,” Kia explains, “bridges the gap between the rugged workhorse aesthetic of traditional gothics and the cold utilitarianism of a neo-grotesque, with a splash of subtle exaggerations across some of the characters.”
The Warehouse Project launches its season at the new venue in autumn, opening shows with Aphex Twin, Skepta, Disclosure, Nina Kraviz, Flume and Chase & Status, among others, at later dates. The Full season revealed 9am Tuesday 16th July.