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The good, the average and the ugly

Part 1: New Chandelier and Statues at The Trafford Centre

Published on May 16th 2007.

The good, the average and the ugly

Category: Ugly

Where: The Trafford Centre - and as always in the worst possible taste. The place thinks it’s being democratic with its colourful excess when it’s just being condescending. It’s not the migraine-inducing amount of marble that pulls in the crowds but the 10,000 free car parking spaces and the shops. The company that owns TC, Peel Holdings, has been philanthropic – donating the site of the Imperial War Museum North – but has gone corporately insane here. Not least in the vanity of the company and directors who have commemorated themselves, and their supposed achievement, throughout TC, with murals featuring their own likenesses. Folks,this ain’t the eighteenth century anymore – that doesn’t look good.

What: ‘The biggest chandelier in the world.’ Peel has trumped everything tasteless that’s gone before with this hilarious disaster. If Jeff Koons had done it and placed it in a gallery we would have giggled at the kitsch excess. This is serious though ‘made from thousands of pieces of Chinese crystal’. It looks like either, an under-14s player-of-the-year award bloated to vast size or a space ship from Planet Camp. It’s breath-taking in its sheer hideousness, in its lack of craft, in its failure to provide a single element that’s pleasant. And made from Chinese crystal? Chinese crystal what exactly? More like plastic, painted nauseaus green and and cheap gold with medical pipettes for light fittings. Well done to the Chinese for passing it off on TC.

How much? Well the whole price was £26million for the rebuilding of the Great Hall, which includes the chandelier and the equally grotesque staircase beneath it. The staircase, by the way, is a mix of brown and white marble, incorporating statues of women holding lamps. These women are completely free of normal musculature. They look as though they were carved by an extraterrestrial from a brief description of Jade Goody given over a bad telephone line by a blind man on crack. 

The Big Question: Would Peel big wigs Robert Hough or John Whitaker put a smaller version of that chandelier up in their homes? Of course not. You can almost hear the conversation in the dinner parties the directors of the company attend, “oh it’s bloody awful but the hoi polloi seem to like that kind of thing. Puts some colour in their drab lives.”

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21 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

JanieMay 16th 2007.

My mum always told me that money couldn't buy class!

tigerlillyMay 16th 2007.

We mancunians will give a direct and sometimes blunt answer. If people don't want the truth then they should never ask a Northerner for their opinion. It does look idious and yes Manchester town hall did mess up with the replacement piccadilly Gardens. This seems to have been put together by the 1960s designers everything in concrete. So Yes Saba we do have our say and we exercise that right. Why do we go to the trafford centre *indoors *free parking and lots of it* you can stay there and do what you want shop eat and see a film without moving the car.

JamesMay 16th 2007.

How much would it cost to just knock the Trafford Centre down?

AnonymousMay 16th 2007.

A whole page on a light fitting that you dont like?!! Personally, I have no inclination to shop at the TC, but at least there has been some attempt to spend a bit of money on fit and finish. The TC might be a bit brash and overdone, but compare it to the frankly below par new and faceless developments everywhere (a bit of wood cladding - wow) such as Arndale, Harvey Nicks, 1 Picadilly to name a few, at least there has been some concept of quality, longevity and detail. Anyway...as the mecca of consumerism and excess, perhaps the place is totally appropriate anyway. (if not, then just gaze at your shoes so as not to offend your eyes)

matt wMay 16th 2007.

An aquaintance of mine has actually been to John Whittaker's Isle of Man tax haven joint and, from what I hear, the chandalier would fit in very well with the garish decor of 'Chez Whittaker'. Mirrored ceilings in the master bedroom, gold leaf, statuette's and everything - just like the TC but smaller!

The ColonelMay 16th 2007.

Maybe it is the 10,000 free car parking spaces and the shops that pulls in the crowds but if that were completely true then the TC might as well be an 80s-style concrete block like Manchester's infamous Arndale centre. I would rather have it like it is than have no style at all!

BritesideMay 16th 2007.

Amazing! I haven't been to the TC in 5 years and didn't have any inclination to do so in the near future. However, now I've read your article, seen the photo but am unable to see enough detail I am now GOING TO THE TC! Who was it that said "any publicity is good publicity"?

kayMay 16th 2007.

ugly looks like something that i saw on the news afew years ago in sadam's palace

Jonathan - EditorMay 16th 2007.

Saba you ask, Would you be as critical if this was in Manchester city centre? The answer is yes.

ALIMay 16th 2007.

What a pile of ****.Clue: my 4 x asterisks are not meant to spell 'nice'.The TC is the biggest dump ever - it trumped the already hideous Meadowhall (same architects) and the fact that it's in Dumplington is hilariously ironic.I much prefer the city centre for shopping any day - and unlike 'Anonymous', I rather like the refurbished Arndale - simple, clean modern materials - not some fussy, nasty, pastiche throwback to an era when, errr, they didn't have shopping centres...Oh and in case anyone from Peel reads this... BRING ON THE CONGESTION CHARGE AND CHARGE £40 PER CAR TO GO WITHIN HALF A MILE OF THE TRAFFORD CENTRE. Settle down, settle down.

Speechless in Bolton!May 16th 2007.

Scathing but accurate, goes to show that wealth doesn’t buy you taste or decency for that fact! It's disappointing that a company with so much to offer shames our great region with this monstrosity. Let’s not forget the original name of the site that TC is built on was called Dumplington - fitting eh! Wonder what Prince Charles would have to say, or visiting Italians dignitaries?

camilleMay 16th 2007.

jeff "koontz"? don't you mean jeff koons?

Charlie HMay 16th 2007.

"Completely free of any musculature the women look as though they were carved by an extraterrestrial from a brief description of Jade Goody given over a bad telephone line by a man on crack."This is officially my quote of the week!

SabaMay 16th 2007.

Would you be as critical if this was in Manchester? It's in keeping with the theme and it's given you something to talk about. Suffice to say, the best run, most successful shopping enterprise can bear the brunt of bad publicity.

DavidMay 16th 2007.

Crikey. Just got back from the Trafford Centre where I bore witness to the Great Hall. It never fails to astound me how bad taste can know no bounds! That chandelier is incredible!

AnonymousMay 16th 2007.

Well I thought that putting Whittaker's mum's old Merc on display was pretty kitsch but this pile of old tat puts it in the shade

GezzabelleMay 16th 2007.

Can I nominate this for sentence of the year please?:"Completely free of any musculature the women look as though they were carved by an extraterrestrial from a brief description of Jade Goody given over a bad telephone line by a man on crack."

Jonathan - EditorMay 16th 2007.

Thank you Camille. I did mean Koons, it's just that the letter z is so underused in English. Or maybe I just got it wrong because I was writing in a rage.

Mr ZMay 16th 2007.

"It’s breath-taking in its sheer hideousness, in it’s lack of craft, in it’s failure to provide a single element that’s pleasant." Surely that applies to the Trafford Centre as a whole? (Exterior as well as interior) So the chandelier fits in quite nicely

ColetteDecember 30th 2014.

concrete, crows, bugs, commercialism at its best attempting the lonely to shop easy access, a poor attmept at copying culture

Colette shared this on Facebook on December 30th 2014.
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