Sage Gateshead
Lindsay Tuck of Sage Gateshead with Paul Hardcastle of Aptus outside the international music venue which is set for a six-figure refurbishment.
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North East fit-out firm wins major venue contract

A North East fit-out specialist has been awarded a six-figure contract to undertake a major refurbishment of one of the region’s biggest venues.

Aptus Fit Out has been chosen by Sage Gateshead to refurbish its iconic concourse, transforming its many public areas to make them all the more welcoming and enjoyable.

As well as being a key focal point for many music festivals, free events and performances, the Sage Gateshead concourse is a place to relax, work and play. The venue’s restaurant in particular is in line for a major facelift and it is anticipated to become a popular culinary destination in its own right.

The project, which is due to start in January 2020, will see the bar areas refurbished, new retail spaces, a private hire dining area created and the relocation of the box office. The full design team for the project includes architect and interior designer Howarth Litchfield and quantity surveyors Artis Consulting.

This first phase of improvements will be followed by a bespoke seating system for the venue’s largest event hall, Sage One, which will enable the quick removal of seats to create space for a part standing audience. Footfall is expected to significantly increase to the venue following this work.

Paul Hardcastle, business manager at Aptus said: “We’re thrilled to have won this contract in competitive tender with a number of other fit-out specialists. We’ve worked closely with Sage Gateshead to value-engineer the project and bring it in line with their specification and budget requirements.

“To have the opportunity to work on one of the region’s most recognisable landmark buildings is really exciting for all the team at Aptus and this has been fantastic news to round off what has been our busiest year to date.”

Speaking about its role as interior designer, director, Neil Turner, Howarth Litchfield, said:

“We were delighted to have the opportunity to create dynamic designs to transform some of the interior spaces of such an iconic building and one which is so integral to the Quayside and the region’s music and conference offering.

“The finished design has been inspired by the building’s striking architectural form and the materials used in its construction and I believe will add further to the visitor experience.”

Sage Gateshead was awarded £1.2 million in National Lottery funding through Arts Council England’s capital programme to enable the project to go ahead. This has been matched by generous donations of £800,000 from individuals and trusts from around the North East and across the country. The Arts Council’s capital funding is intended to support organisations to develop their buildings and facilities to help them produce and present outstanding work.

Lindsay Tuck, chief operating officer at Sage Gateshead added: “We are very excited to start work with Aptus on this first phase of our capital works.

“We welcome around 500,000 visitors a year and, as we enter our 15th year, we are looking forward to improving the experience for everyone who comes through our doors.”

Established for more than 12 years, Aptus, based in Newcastle’s Hoult’s Yard, works to provide a comprehensive design and space planning service with full project management across multiple sectors, including office, retail, leisure and healthcare.

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