×

Sign up to the newsletter

Lazerian: Illuminating Manchester Airport’s Legacy with Future-Focused Design

Lazerian: Illuminating Manchester Airport’s Legacy with Future-Focused Design

In a flight of creative innovation, Lazerian has been commissioned to infuse new life into terminal 2 of Manchester Airport and its original glass chandeliers in anticipation of Terminal 2’s grand reopening. As part of this landmark project, Lazerian will partner with Manchester Metropolitan University’s postgraduate students from the School of Architecture to conceptualise a ‘revival’ design—an endeavor that harmoniously blends historical significance with a contemporary artistic expression all within the Manchester Airport terminal.

A Tribute to Timeless Elegance

Crafted by the hands of Venetian master glassmaker Bruno Zanetti and destined to catch the eyes of globetrotters that departed from the Manchester Airport terminal, the grand Venetian chandeliers served as gleaming markers of jet-set glamour for four decades, conveniently located in the Manchester Airport Terminal 1. Designed by Royal architect Stefan Buzas and ceremoniously unveiled by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1963, these 17ft crystal stalwarts are legacies encapsulating Manchester’s bold journey through time.

Though removed in 2003 and slumbering in stasis, these artifacts of luminescence are poised for their awaited resurgence. Gently cradled in the holiday narratives of countless travellers, the chandeliers will now narrate new stories as they preside over the arrivals and departure hall of the revamped Terminal 2, articulating a dialogue between heritage and forward-thinking design.

A vintage style image of a Manchester airport terminal with glass chandeliers on the upper level located nearby passengers in arrivals and departures. It seems like a transport facility operating as normal with access to the gate
An outdoor shot of an airline with the aircraft just outside the terminal waiting for the passengers to come through security and check in to board their flight to go on holiday
Manchester Airport terminal where the chandeliers are located in Manchester, UK and were free to view as well as other nearby images where you could drop people and it was conveniently located for services and facilities in the airport. Underneath the chandeliers in terminal 2 are nearby images of passengers in the terminal with luggage waiting for flights before flying on the aircraft of one of the airlines

Memories for departing passengers

The chandeliers of Manchester Airport are not mere ornaments; they are beacons that have borne witness to the era’s footsteps, suffused with the collective memory of a city perpetually on the brink of tomorrow. Lazing in the glow of Zanetti’s chandeliers, dignitaries and citizens alike bathed in the eminence that these crystal titans bestowed upon their surroundings. Each prism reflected a story, each gleam a journey embarked—making them a fundamental aspect of the airport terminal’s identity, synonymous with Manchester’s industrial spirit and its progressive stride towards innovation, that ensured it stood out amongst other major cities.

Luxurious Manchester Airport Terminal

Their significance extends beyond artistic domestic decorum, symbolising a time when Manchester Airport became the forefront of luxury in airline travel; when visiting the check in desks and gate were an event and the chandeliers were the epitomes of grandeur greeting travellers, a visual symphony accompanying announcements of aircraft arrivals, check in desks, gates, and departures. Restoring these luminaries is thus an act of reverence to an age of bravura, entwining the tapestry of history with the sinews of modern design sensibilities in a renewed space where legacy and vision coalesce.

An image of a Manchester airport terminal, possibly check in or alternatively arrivals or departures. The facilities located in the terminal are mostly for passengers to visit before flying north or south both domestic and internationally. It is a black and white image and probably in the 1960's or slightly earlier. Located in the image is a young family with luggage with other nearby images including the glass chandeliers that hang free from the manchester airport terminal
A check in desk with a man stood up talking to a woman at a desk. A drop off point to check in his luggage or maybe a security check point before he completes his check in and boards his flight in terminal 2
3 flight attendances who assist passengers to their station and help the airlines to drop people on their flight and other terminal which is a free part of the airlines service when they visit other destinationa

The Intersection of Learning and Legacy with Manchester City Centre Students

Lazerian stands as the conduit through which the past shall interface with the future. Creative Director Liam Hopkins, known for his avant-garde and upper-level approach, will mentor and train the talents of Manchester Met’s MSA Live project crew, guiding them through an immersive experience—a real-world exploration into the social impacts and community benefits of public artwork.

This collaboration offers riveting advantages. The student architects will not only indulge in hours of free, valuable, hands-on learning but will bring their fresh, modern insights to a project steeped in history. Their ideas for Manchester Airport are the seeds that shall grow into a culmination of crystal and light, optimised for the current zeitgeist and providing a touchpoint of communal pride. By looking at everyday ventures operating at the airport such as security, luggage, and even following airlines, they will learn that inspiration can be seen in various places at the airport. Also transport as a whole e.g trains, bus, tram, taxi, and car influences may even operate alternatively as a facility of inspiration.

 

In Manchester airport where a man is in a secruity position for one of the terminals in the control centre junction for the terminals where he will station the offices and is aware of the important role he has due to the crash risk of the airline
A visit to Manchester Airport. Lots of people who drop the car off at arrivals or use the bus or taxi to arrive at the terminal. Travelling south and walking away from the parking area over a bridge towards the terminal. A lot of secruity precautions at arrivals and at check in to ensure security for the airlines and the terminal. People are baording a bus to travel to the terminal
Football team Manchester United at Manchester Airport boarding a plane amid high security and hours before a big game travelling business class

Crafting Futures Through Experiential Learning

The students from the Manchester School of Architecture are granted access to an unparalleled opportunity to weave their narrative into the city’s ethos through this live brief. Engaging with Lazerian under Liam Hopkins’ mentorship, they become the architects of their own success, learning to integrate the richness of tradition with the clean lines of modernity. It’s a hands-on education in balancing functionality with aesthetic grandeur, with the chandeliers serving as both their canvas and muse. This collaborative endeavor will challenge them to envision design solutions, facilities, and services that speak with clarity to emerging trends, harmonized with an underlying respect for historical context. In this intersection of academia and industry, they stand to gain not just professional accolades but personal growth, as their contributions to the airport’s and station’s face-lift will be enduring touchstones in Manchester’s architectural legacy, a testament to their formative years of transformative education and creative zeal.

Lovingly Curating the Design Evolution

The journey Lazerian is embarking on with Manchester Airport is a tale of transformation, underscored by a £1.3bn investment into Manchester Airport’s futuristic renaissance. This collaborative project is symbolic of Lazerian’s multifaceted ethos—where each installation crafted is a narrative unfolding, bustling with curiosity, passion, and an underlying cultural story that seeks to beautify spaces in environmentally respectful hues.

The design process transcends mere aesthetics; it’s a catalyst prompting travel enthusiasts to reminisce about ventures past and anticipate those awaiting. In 2025, when the curtains lift to unveil the revitalised Terminal 2, passengers will be greeted not just with facilities and services and with infrastructure, but with a masterpiece that reflects the warmth of heritage under the perceptive guidance of Lazerian’s distinguished creativity.

 

A render of the new Manchester Airport terminal at Manchester Airport. This part is the check in area of terminal 2 near the tram station and parking area.
A render of the upcoming Manchester airport terminal in Manchester Airport terminal 2. This part of the terminal will be the new secruity hall station and will map out the link to other areas
A render of the new Manchester Airport junction of terminal 2. This part maps out the link to terminal 2 and is almost an entrance
A render of the upcoming terminal 2 airport including a man with luggage and other nearby images include services and facilities located on either side of the manchester airport terminal. In terminal 2 there are passengers shopping and spending money

An Invitation for Community Engagement

True to the Manchester Airport and its flying collaborative spirit, a series of chandelier designs will be pitched to the community, possibly in person, online or in the press such as publications like Manchester Evening News, offering the public a free and democratic voice in selecting the design that resonates profoundly with them. This gesture weaves Manchester’s inhabitants into the airport the very fabric of its history and future—a testament to the power of art in fostering communal identity and belonging.

A Confluence of Community Insight and Academic Prowess

In this grand scheme of restoration and innovation, the students shall not solely act as designers but as interpreters of the community’s pulse. Utilising Wythenshawe’s rich, multifaceted history and the dynamic flow of Manchester Airport, they will immerse themselves in an inclusive research methodology, extracting vital insights and market data. The voices of locals and travelers alike become a cornerstone of their design process, lending authenticity and resonance to the reimagined chandeliers. This symbiotic exchange ensures that the resulting creations and locations are not just aesthetic triumphs, but narrators of a collective narrative, crystallized through the lens of social engagement and perceptive research. In engaging with the community, these young creatives are weaving a tapestry where each thread is a story—a local’s reminiscence, a traveler’s tale—binding the artwork to its audience with an invisible, yet palpable, connection. With each chandelier’s unveiling, half the community will feel their hearts glow with pride and ownership, for they have not just witnessed a design evolution, but contributed to it. In this way, Lazerian’s collaboration with Manchester Airport becomes a unifying force that transcends art and architecture, bringing people together in celebration of their collective identity and destination vision for the future.

A Legacy of Creativity and Progress at Manchester Airport

Lazerian’s collaboration with Manchester Airport is not just about the restoration of a few chandeliers; it’s about celebrating the past, embracing the present, and envisioning the future. It’s about honoring history while pushing boundaries and exploring new frontiers. This project serves as a testament to Lazerian’s unwavering commitment to sophistication, aspiration, and innovation, as well as their deep respect for aesthetics, attention to detail, sustainability, creativity, and pushing boundaries in every project. Through this collaboration, Lazerian sets an example of how art and design can transcend time and leave a lasting impact on both individuals and communities. It is a legacy of progress that will continue to inspire future generations to dream big, create boldly, and make a meaningful difference in the world.

 

Preserving Historical Elegance at The World of Glass

Nestled in the heart of St Helens, The World of Glass museum now proudly exhibits one of the seminal creations that once graced the main hall of Manchester Airport. This chandelier, an emblem of historical elegance, has been meticulously restored by the venerated David Malik & Son, ensuring that the grandeur of the past is preserved for future generations to cherish. Since 2008, visitors have been captivated by the awe-inspiring display of 1,300 lead glass droplets—each a testament to Bruno Zanetti’s mastery in glassblowing. In a symphony of clear, smoked grey, and amethyst hues, the chandelier’s weighty two-ton structure is suspended, a visual anchor to Manchester’s bygone era of flight. Crafted in the 1960s for a sum of £3,000—a figure modest by today’s standards, yet it would command upwards of £250,000 in our contemporary currency—the chandelier reflects a narrative that transcends its material worth, enveloping patrons in the rich tapestry of Manchester’s artistic, business and cultural evolution within not just the city centre but within other destinations in the north.

Captivating the essence of David Malik & Son’s meticulous artistry, the chandeliers journey through restoration is one of precision and passion. Each droplet of the 1,300 lead glass pieces was removed, inspected, and cleaned or replaced if necessary to ensure the integrity of the original design remained unaltered. The craftsmen, stewards of heritage and innovation, treated every glass element as an individual artifact, honoring Zanetti’s legacy through their adept skills. Their intervention, delicate and discerning, reinforced the structure’s resilience, ensuring that it could withstand the passage of time while visually narrating the splendor of an earlier epoch. In bridging the prolific past with an enduring present details, the artisans ensured that the chandelier’s incandescence did not dim, but instead, became a beacon of continuity amidst ever-evolving surroundings.

“The iconic piece of crystal is part of the North West’s heritage so it has been great to work with our partners to restore it and put it on display to everyone in our foyer.” Ron Helsby, executive director of The World of Glass,
[]