Glade of Light
Community Impact & Engagement Special Award
Civic Trust Awards
Level of Award
Local Authority Area
Information about this scheme
On 22 May 2017, twenty-two people, concertgoers and their loved ones waiting for them, had their lives taken in a terrorist atrocity at the Manchester Arena. Glade of Light as a contemporary memorial space with an emotional power and honesty.
It has become a significant place in the heart of Manchester for the personal and communal process of remembrance, grieving and healing. The purity and simplicity of the circle references the infinite and the eternal. Within a sunny glade, a halo of white stone floats above an ever-changing orchestration of plants. The names of the loved ones taken away have been inlaid in bronze within each unique block of Marble.
Nestled beneath the bronze hearts set around the circle are memory capsules, within which the bereaved families have left special memories, private messages and meaningful mementos. The abstracted design is ultimately an emotional as well as intellectual response to the ineffability of sorrow and loss. The monumental marble blocks have been carefully split using artisanship techniques into mirror image pairs, this ancient process being known as Macchia Aperta, which translates to English as ‘Open Book’ or ‘Book Matched’, creates a beautiful, reflected effect within the veining.
A grove of Oak, Birch, Hawthorn and Pine trees are gathered together around the quiet glade, providing a soft and green setting within the busy city, a place for people to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Inspired by the colours and wild beauty of the nearby Peak District Heathlands, planting within the sunny glade of grasses, heathers, bulbs and perennials changes throughout the year - through crimson, cerise, magenta and amethyst. In the dappled shade beneath the trees are ‘scarp’ boulders, mosses, ferns, snowdrops and wood anemones. Inclusivity has been embedded in all aspects of the design and construction process, working closely with representatives of the bereaved families, survivors, local stakeholders and a wider access working group to ensure input from a wide forum of interests.
Seeing people returning on a regular basis to find a quiet moment in the glade and connect with its beneficial emotional and physical restorative powers has been an honour to witness.
“The overall composition is exceptional with the landscaping and planting being a soft and responsive reflection of the existing public realm and surrounding environs.”
“A quiet yet bold installation which is a serene and lasting reminder for Manchester of those killed and affected by the terrorist bomb.”
Manchester City Council
Primary Use Class
Class E1 - Public Realm