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Design & Development

OVG lifts lid on Co-op Live’s ‘smart bowl’

Images: OVG

Co-op Live developer, Oak View Group (OVG), has revealed further details concerning the innovative ‘smart bowl’ that will be at the heart of the new arena in the English city of Manchester.

Set to open in December 2023, the 23,500-capacity venue is currently under construction adjacent to Etihad Stadium on Manchester’s Etihad Campus. The project is a joint venture between OVG and City Football Group (CFG), parent company of Premier League football club Manchester City, alongside private investor Harry Styles, who has been instrumental in the design, offering personal insight having performed at major venues and arenas worldwide.

OVG has released new image renders of the smart bowl, which it states has taken inspiration from talks with Styles, along with US music legend Bruce Springsteen. The bowl, designed with an intimate atmosphere in mind, will feature no corporate branding, in an effort to ensure both the fan and artist can fully immerse themselves in the show.

The suites lining the edges of level two will also utilise soundproof black curtains to maximise the impact of a show’s sound and lighting. The UK’s only music-first arena will boast the largest floor space of any indoor venue, a significantly lower ceiling, and tiered seating that brings fans closer to the artist.

Unlike venues designed primarily for sporting tournaments or public exhibitions, Co-op Live is said to be the first of its kind to be built around concert acoustics and aims to rival New York’s Madison Square Garden, The Forum in Los Angeles and The O2 in London.

“Co-op Live is about the fan and the artist, it is specially designed to deliver the best sound, atmosphere and experience for everyone who walks through our doors,” said president of OVG International, Jessica Koravos. “Innovative technology and design will bring a unique live entertainment experience to the UK.”

Co-op Live’s 330 tonnes of rigging capacity and eight loading bays ensure the ability to bring some of the industry’s biggest live productions to Manchester. The fan experience will be further heightened by 32 bars, restaurants, and lounges, including a locally sourced and sustainable food and drink offering.

Construction work started in May 2021, with OVG in February announcing that it had closed and funded debt financing to fund the development.

In March, OVG partnered with UK sustainability consultants Hope Solutions to enhance the Manchester arena’s net-zero carbon ambitions.

The engagement of Hope Solutionsconsultants to music industry sustainability leaders such as Coldplay and Glastonbury, sought to reinforces Co-op Live’s environmental commitments and will help deliver on its plans to be the UK’s most sustainable arena, going above and beyond the original promises OVG made to the city of Manchester during the planning phase.