By Ashleigh Dolan

I can’t quite remember what I had been typing into Google when I stumbled across The Pilcrow Pub. I was probably just thirsty but I found something much better than just a new place to go for a pint.

The Pilcrow Pub promises to be ‘the pub that Manchester built’. Something of a neighbourhood project, The Pilcrow aims to bring together Manchester’s craft beer community to develop a pub that is grounded in locally sourced beverages.

The local city’s residents have been involved in the design process of near enough everything; from the beer pump handles and barrels to the table tops and the hanging baskets, everything being produced by hand. Through a series of public workshops, people have turned-up to help develop ideas, engage in physically making the various elements of the pub and ultimately shaping the environment that will later become their beloved local pub. I was impressed and inspired by the concept of Pilcrow Pub so I emailed the project manager, Joe Hartley, to see how I could get involved as a volunteer on this project.

Together we started thinking how best to illuminate the space; taking the material-led approach used throughout the project. As a designer/maker, working primarily with pottery, this hands-on experimental way of working is what Joe is used to and does best.

For a lighting designer from an engineering consultancy who is used to focusing first on the users, the task and then the space itself, it pushed me completely out of my comfort zone and made me look at the task ahead from a whole new perspective.

Now, after many hours in Joe’s workshop, playing around with different materials and light, plus two public workshops learning to build and make luminaires and bending conduit, the Pilcrow Pub is really taking shape.

The concept behind the lighting design came from looking at traditional pub lighting, with its brass arms, smoked glass, twin pendants and lantern-like forms and interpreting this into an entirely new form with completely different materials. The mantra throughout has been “reference, don’t replicate” and what we have ended up with does just that.

Wood and perspex pendants hang in pairs creating a warm, cosy glow in the space. Pendants in a pair are identical but each pair is configured slightly differently, representing the different people that have had an input and made their own mark on the project.

They are now installed and ready for the pub opening on Friday 23rd September.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Great stuff Ashliegh! Hope you enjoy a well earned pint on the opening night.



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Ashleigh Dolan, Lighting Design, Volunteering


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