Boxpark: the world’s first pop-up mall due to arrive in Shoreditch in August this year.
The idea is that the organizers take over a small, awkward bit of land next to the monolithic Shoreditch overground station and populate it with containers, each of which is home to a particular shop, bar or combination of the two. It’s a great idea and will further cement the East End as a shopping destination in addition to creating a distinctive ‘village within a village’ on this slightly inconspicuous bit of tarmac.
One of the things I particularly like about the project is the fact that it will be both anchored to Shoreditch and it’s achingly cool aesthetic of urban gentrification but also have a transient quality about it; at any moment the whole thing could be packed up and moved to New Cross or Camden or even, God forbid, somewhere north of the M25.
It’s other attraction for me lies in the opportunities it offers outside of retail. It is to be expected that the majority of the complex will be made up of ever-so-trendy bars and boutiques, however I hope the presumably cheap ground rent and short leases will attract those who want to offer something a little different.
Shoreditch’s arts scene is dominated by obscure galleries and bars masquerading as music venues purely because Vice rarely seem to venture west of Liverpool Street. Boxpark offers those with a little capital and ambition to open up theatre spaces; bars intent on inviting speakers as well as singers; music venues with the ambition to do one thing well on a small scale. It would be great to see Pure Groove back staging in-stores at Boxpark following the loss of its permanent residence last year.
Every mall needs its cinema and bowling complex – let’s hope Boxpark’s equivalent brings a renewed focus on the arts to the area outside of the finely coiffed haircut, the artfully over-priced cocktail and the provocatively worded T-shirt.
This village should reflect its wider surroundings to some extent but it should also challenge and add to them; after all the last thing Shoreditch needs is another Shoreditch.
To continue the theme of urban theatrics, two dramatically demented glitch remixes to fill your ears with as you wander around E1: The GLITCH MOB’s fantastically over-the-top re-work of TV on the Radio’s ‘Red Dress’ (the guitar squeals peeking over the wall noise always get me at 2.50 mark) and Pretty Light’s seemingly sacrilegious mix of Pink Floyd’s ‘Time’. Purists need not apply. Turn them up loud.