The world’s first pop-up mall opens this summer in Shoreditch.
The mall will consist of 60 containers customized for retailers, galleries and cafés. The hope is to create a meeting place for locals and an attraction for visitors.
BoxPark is temporarily taking over the outdoor space next to Shoreditch High Street Station and creating a “living and fertile” shopping mall, where the shops change and people are invited to come and hang out.
Donna Lambert, spokesperson for BoxPark, said: “We are looking to complement the area, not take over anything. We would like to be an addition to the community.”
She added that the rough exterior of the containers and the mobility and rotation of the shops would be the perfect match for Shoreditch because of the creative and fast-pace atmosphere of the area.
Shoreditch has already become a hub for retailers and galleries. According to local shop manager Chris Marcus the BoxPark development was an “inevitable step” for the area. Marcus is excited about the project and the potential rise in shoppers BoxPark might bring about.
Lambert said: “What is good about the pop-up phenomenon is that it creates a buzz.” East London has during the past few years seen a rise in pop-up restaurants, clubs and exhibitions. Lambert said that the pop-up phenomenon creates a “performative” sense to the experience, matching the dynamics of the changing and expanding East London.
The BoxPark team is choosing the shops and galleries of the pop-up mall themselves and will be focusing on creating an “eclectic mix”, with designer boutiques, and everything from coffee shops to bike shops. They hope BoxPark will be a stepping-stone for promising new designers, who will get a chance to “dip their toes in the water.”
However some locals express a concern about the expanding gentrification and commercialisation of the area. Tomo Robid, shop manager, said: “Not again! It is probably good for the capital but not necessarily for the community.” With its numerous markets, designer shops and bars Shoreditch has increasingly become a shopping area during the day and a watering hole at night.
At the moment BoxPark Shoreditch is the first pop-up shopping mall, but they are hoping to open several more in other parts of London, the UK and internationally. In the future the designers at BoxPark will be able to move their container shop from location to location.
BoxPark held their retailers’ launch on January 28 and is due to open for the public in August 2011. BoxPark Shoreditch will exist for 5 years before the space will be passed on to retail developers Hammerson and Ballymore. Their plan for the space is not yet certain.