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Paradise Project has been widely supported by local business as well as by the general public, who expect the city to reap economic, social and commercial benefits as a result. The £920 million regeneration project is the biggest of its kind in Europe, covering more than 42 acres and 40 individually designed buildings, and will be finished in 2008, when the British city will be the European Capital of Culture.

"This ... will make Liverpool one of the premier retail and leisure destinations not only in the UK but in Europe," says Liverpool City Council leader Warren Bradley.

One of Paradise Project's most distinctive buildings - the Bling Bling building on Hanover Street - was designed by architects CZWG and incorporates innovative use of curtain walling from Hydro.

The five-floor office and retail development structure sits between two classic Edwardian buildings on a prominent corner site. Part of the building is already being used as headquarters for celebrity hairdresser Herbert Howe, who has held a series of receptions at his new glass-and-marble salon and hairdressing academy.

Statement building

Hydro's Technal-brand grid and curved curtain walling was used for the Bling Bling building's envelope.

In addition, the Bling Bling architects, CZWG, specified a specially extruded cap for the vertical and horizontal sections as an effective contrast to the copper-clad "pods" over the entrance to the building and on each façade. The end caps and transoms were finished in anodized gold, and leave a striking effect.

"We wanted to create a statement building, and the Technal system allowed us to incorporate some innovative design detailing, such as the gold end caps," says CZWG project architect David Donachie.

Hydro is Europe's largest supplier of aluminium building systems, and delivers to scores of other countries around the globe. Its three brands - Domal, Technal and Wicona - cover the whole range of system products, focusing on windows, doors, curtain walls, shutters and conservatories.

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