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This Man Is Making Manchester Offices Cooler, According To Bruntwood

Atul Bansal, co-founder of Sheila Bird Group

Atul Bansal, one of the men behind the elusive high-tech Project Tomorrow which saw an anonymous tech giant option 200K SF of Manchester office space five years ago, has been chosen to bring a blast of ice-cold style to Bruntwood's office development at the 2.4M SF Circle Square scheme.

Bansal, co-founder of Sheila Bird Group and the man responsible for creating “the world’s coolest office” for fashion brand Missguided, will work with Bruntwood over the next two years to shape the look and feel of the commercial buildings at Circle Square.

He has already worked on the 70K SF Bright Building at Bruntwood-controlled Manchester Science Park. He has also worked with a number of existing Bruntwood occupiers including social media marketing agency Social Chain — whose office ball pool and treehouse meeting room were recently featured in ITV drama "Cold Feet" — and data and artificial intelligence company Peak at Neo.

“I love creating spaces that encourage people to talk, have fun and love what they do," Bansal said. "Remember, each place is unique — there is no one size fits all approach to what we do, which is why it is so important to be working with the Bruntwood team right the way through the process."

“I want Circle Square to celebrate what Manchester is all about, it’s what our great city needs — places which keep evolving and growing and not standing still stuck in a trend time warp."

“Our thinking does not start in the building — it’s not on the ground floor either, but what’s outside it and all around it. We already have a wonderful large green space at the centre of Circle Square and this space needs to belong to the people who use it, when you get these spaces right you encourage wonderful things to happen. It’s loud, exciting and fresh — a place where people want to hang out and that’s what we’re looking forward to expand on.”

Around two thirds of the Circle Square scheme will be completed by 2020, including 400K SF of office floorspace which is already under construction, along with 100K SF of retail and leisure including two hotels.

It is a joint venture between Bruntwood and Select Property Group.

Project Tomorrow — sometimes called Project Digital — first surfaced in 2010 and saw an unnamed tech occupier place options on a score of Manchester and Salford Quays office suites totalling 200K SF. Earlier this year Edwards & Co., who were working with Bansal for the unnamed client, reported the project to be "100% alive and kicking" although no announcements were imminent.