Who's In The House: Live in harmony

The formerly run-down Concert Square area of Liverpool is now a thriving centre for DJs, cafes, bars and galleries

In 1990, the building around Concert Square was a derelict warehouse in a run-down area of Liverpool. It was about to be turned into a car park. Built around 1910 for a pharmaceuticals company, by the Fifties and Sixties the building was owned by confectionery wholesalers, supplying corner shops with Kit-Kats and Mars bars. In the Seventies and Eighties the building had become a wholesale outlet for beer, before shutting down and falling into disrepair.

Property developers Urban Splash rescued the building from demolition with a vision of how to transform it. Jonathan Falkingham and Tom Bloxham, the two directors, thought they would enjoy loft living in the city centre, and that other people would too. Estate agents told them there would be no demand, but Urban Splash sold all the apartments before renovation work had even begun. Lower floors were rented out to bars, galleries and restaurants.

Concert Square Building, redesigned by Shed architects, was completed in 1995. It has transformed the area from a place that was out of bounds at night, to the most exciting and lively part of Liverpool - the equivalent of Temple Bar in Dublin or Soho in London.

Who's in your house?

If you are a group of people who live, or work, separately but within the same building and would like to be featured on this page, write to Who's in the House?, The Independent Magazine, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, giving a contact phone number, your address, and details of the type of building you occupy. Please also include recent photographs (which you do not want returned) of your homes or offices.

107.6 Crash FM radio station

Opened: March 1998

Charlie C, DJ for 'Charlie's Jam', on Sunday nights

Crash FM chose to locate in the centre of Liverpool, five minutes down the road from the superclub Cream. It has an alternative music policy, covering house, garage, soul, funk and indie, with not too many big chart hits. The station has a large, open-plan office and broadcasts live from two studios. Charlie C has been with Crash from the beginning. He plays R&B, hip hop and swing and, he believes that, "Liverpool is the music capital of the world."

Beluga bar

Opened: November 1995

Julie and Mary Stephenson

When sisters Julie and Mary Stephenson took on the basement of Concert Square it was filled with water and had no gas or electricity. Despite this, Julie says, "It had a great feeling to it." Doing it up was "really stressful", but it paid off because the bar has been successful from the day it opened. The sisters did most of the work themselves - shunning help from interior designers. They painted the walls, put down wooden flooring, sorted out the lighting, chose the furniture and were ready to go.


Opened: February 1997

Rachel Kearney and Jay Gordon (both assistant managers), James Power, Edward St Aubyn-Dafnis

Rococomodo is a dark and glamorous bar. It feels womb-like, as if you could sink into a leather sofa and never get out again. The lighting is kept low and the music is played softly. Shed and Urban Splash own the site and designed it, from the wallpaper to the menus. The furniture includes Gothic-style benches upholstered in dark green fabric. Rococomodo prefers to focus on elegance, rather than trends.

Open Eye Gallery

Opened: November 1996

Paul Mellor, gallery director

The Open Eye Gallery shows photography from around the world. It is a registered charity which was awarded a National Lottery grant of just under pounds 100,000 for its refurbishment. The space was transformed from a derelict warehouse to a modernist gallery by whitewashing walls, putting down an pounds 11,000 polished- slate floor and installing spotlights for the pictures. Concert Square pulls in a huge number of visitors, many of whom will take in an exhibition and then eat in one of the restaurants.

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