no sooner than i post about my five fave design lifestyle stores in manchester, than three more fabulous offerings pop up, right in the heart of the city, in the vibrant and eclectic northern quarter. frequently included in lists of europe’s hippest neighbourhoods, this labyrinth of side streets and back alleys is home to a vast array of quirky bars, restaurants, fashion and vinyl stores, but in my opinion had been lacking a truly great design mecca ever since fig+sparrow phased out the majority of its homeware offerings in favour of additional table space for their ever-heaving café (a welcome move indeed, their avocado toast is incredible). until now, that is! these 3 recent arrivals are definitely helping to fill the contemporary design void in the area, and add a touch of european sophistication to this achingly cool – but never pretentious – part of town:
form lifestyle store
form lifestyle store were one of the first manchester-based lifestyle brands i started following on instagram when i moved to the city, after i stumbled across their stall at the monthly northern quarter edition of the maker’s market. owners elly amoroso and harry williams moved to manchester from london two years ago, and after a lengthy search for the perfect premises for their minimal, contemporary homeware store, have settled upon an airy double height space with an atrium ceiling, exposed brick walls and an elegant winding metal staircase, tucked away on a back alley between oldham and lever streets. flooded with natural light, form lifestyle store presents a beautifully curated edit of unique handmade products sourced directly from small-scale independent designer-makers, including quirky ceramic pots by louise madzia, hand-thrown stoneware by consall forge pottery and artisan soap handcrafted in small batches in manchester. it’s a space i could very happily while away an afternoon soaking up the chilled, slow-living design vibes, and as luck would have it, the space will also play host to a number of creative workshops with form’s makers and other local creatives, including a few long-standing faves of mine: geo-fleur, ren and artsy nibs.
form lifestyle store, 6 bradley street, northern quarter, m1
tell me, is there any better combo than coffee and design? there really isn’t in my book and that’s why porter+cole, the northern quarter’s new coffee lounge & lifestyle store, has literally become my second home in recent weeks! located on the ground floor of the new one smithfield square apartment complex and named after owners billee williams and ronnie fearn’s two dogs (weimaraner-doberman cross porter and spaniel cole, who are given free rein to roam the space), the spacious store offers a sleek refined edit of scandinavian design brands such as broste copenhagen and house doctor, alongside candles from roam by 42 pressed and giftables (socks, stationery) from bey. in fact, everything in store is available to buy, from the cup your coffee is served in, to the ikat print cushions you recline upon around the communal tables. the coffee lounge is open from breakfast right through to cocktail hour, serving up locally-roasted heart and graft artisan coffee, fresh wholesome lunch options from ottö-men, vegan refined sugar-free treats from nicely kitchen, and beer from manchester’s award-winning modern batch brewery cloudwater.
porter+cole, 124 high street, northern quarter, m4
the art of hope
where one coffee and design store leads, more are sure to follow! the art of hope on tib street is also home to the newly opened ezra to go, an offshoot of the ever-popular ezra and gil on hilton street. a fabulous spot to pick up a quirky gift, you can find everything from marvis toothpaste and meraki natural skincare, to artwork by local illustrator liz ackerley and contemporary design-led magazines. there’s also armor-lux breton stripe tees to make my heart skip a beat, french shopping bags and an abundance of stationery to perv over as you wait for your coffee order, brewed with beans from local artisan micro-coffee roaster mancoco, to arrive.
the art of hope, 108 tib street, northern quarter, m4