Liverpool ONE Case Study
As part of its 21st-century renaissance, the city of Liverpool wanted to join the first division of shopping destinations in the UK. To achieve this, Grosvenor Group would redevelop a derelict 42-acre site between the city centre and the docks. Alongside shops, there would be a cinema, housing and public spaces. With a budget of £920 million, the whole thing would be Europe’s biggest single regeneration project. The ambition was big, but success uncertain: what would bring first retailers, and then shoppers, to this unpromising location? To answer this question, Grosvenor commissioned Wolff Olins to create a brand.
We wanted to root the project in the city of Liverpool, so that local people didn’t see it as an alien imposition from outside, and we based the brand idea on Liverpool’s traditional attitude: unconventional, free-spirited, anarchic even. The brand idea is therefore ‘New rules’. The brand aims, in the services it offers and the way it talks, to ignore the conventions, and create something new. We named the place Liverpool ONE, pointing both to its postcode, and to its ambition to make Liverpool the number one shopping choice in the north west.
The brand was launched in 2005, when construction was under way. It helped the developers to sign up retailers, and to give the project a real sense of place. When it opened in 2008, Liverpool ONE was an immediate success, and the heart of Liverpool shifted from the old centre to the new development. By June 2009, Liverpool ONE was attracting 500,000 visitors a week, and the shop units were 98.5% occupied – in a time of recession, an amazing achievement.