Liverpool Philharmonic unveils new look

Following a £13.5 million refurbishment, the iconic Liverpool Philharmonic has unveiled significant changes and interior upgrades this week.

Since May 2014, the much loved building on Hope Street has undergone refurbishment to see it brought up to speed for a more modern audience. Works were aimed an improving or upgrading the structure, heating, and lighting in the Grade II-listed hall, bringing the building up to date without sacrificing its aesthetic, Art Deco style and heritage.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performed at the hall last week for the first time since work began six months ago, in preparation for the Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary season.

Some work is still ongoing to complete phase one of restoration efforts, with phase two imminent: including a second performance space, backstage production facilities, warm-up rooms and accommodation.

Wrapping up phase one will be the re-decoration and refurbishment of the main hall, as well as the auditorium, all public front of house spaces, and backstage dressing rooms. A new stage and choir stalls have also been created.

Antique lighting has been replaced with modern LED lights, and the central heating system has also been upgraded. A new central bar has been created in the grand foyer and the entrance hall and box office have also had a face lift.

Phase two will see a new, smaller-scale venue used for performances and the Phil’s new learning programme, along with backstage production facilities.

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic chief executive Michael Eakin said:

“It’s tight to complete everything on time but I think the reaction will be fantastic.

“The foyers look quite dramatic and different, and the auditorium looks beautiful. It was a real moment when the scaffolding started to come down. The whole auditorium has been painted and it looks cleaner and brighter.

“The grand foyer is the centrepiece of the whole building in its original design, and there the architects have gone back to the colours of the period. The ground floor foyer is more muted but the grey and white chequerboard flooring echoes the original scheme.”

The Summer season 2015 promises to be the highlight of the Liverpool Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary year, with Hope Street undergoing an architectural revival of sorts (following the new Everyman Theatre designed by Haworth Tompkins winning the RIBA Stirling Prize 2014).


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Words: Peter Cribley

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