Last November sixty shipping containers were delivered to a vacant plot outside Shoreditch station. Now filled with trendy fashion and food brands they form what the owners say is the ‘the world’s first pop-up mall.’
Boxpark’s simple premise offers brands the opportunity to present their wares without the need to fork out for a long-term lease (the units will be in place for five years and retailers can agree leases for one or five years).
A healthy mix of popular brands and emerging labels backed up by appealing food options produces a dynamic but professional atmosphere, although the raw edge is removed by the inevitable proliferation of the Hoxton hipsters.
The construction of the container village is compact and pleasant to wander through, with the eateries given a bit more space on the upper level and majority of retailers facing the street to attract passing trade.
Once inside the units, inevitably, space is a bit tight and becomes positively cramped if there are more than a couple of other punters browsing.
The materials and detailing used for the walkways and public spaces are well considered and help maintain the industrial aesthetic, while the retailers are given free reign to adapt the interior spaces to suit their brand.
Its location guarantees that Boxpark will be commercially successful and, while it is unlikely to provide any lasting benefits to an area that isn’t short on trendy shopping options, it will hopefully offer a good starting place for creative brands looking for their first taste of the forbidding retail environment.