diamond geezer

 Sunday, December 04, 2011

Boxpark Shoreditch: It is, allegedly, the world's first temporary shopping mall. That's probably only bluster, depending on your definition of "temporary" and "shopping mall". But there is nothing else quite like it in East London. Trendy shops around Shoreditch, sure, several. Buildings made out of empty shipping containers, sure, several. But the two things combined, nah, unique. Imagine about 40 shipping containers painted black, lined up in parallel. Stick glass doors in one end, facing Bethnal Green Road, and fill with lifestyle brands aimed at hip Silicon City yoofsters. Then add two dozen additional containers on the roof, aligned perpendicularly, with a central alleyway and intermediate grazing spaces. Leave to simmer until the first weekend in December, then open with a rooftop party. That's Boxpark for you. It's located alongside the new Shoreditch High Street station, on a patch of land that's earmarked for building development but not yet. So Boxpark will be here for about five years, and then it can move somewhere else because it's cunningly adaptable like that. The shops are rather thin, but a lot of clothes-style boutiques work quite well on the narrow side. Picture one long wall, maybe two, covered in stuff, and a couple of natty assistants hovering near a till in case someone wants to buy something. DC Shoes are here, and Nike, and Oakley, and Calvin Klein, and Original Penguin, and you get the idea. Farah slacks and Gola shoulder bags have a presence, because this is Shoreditch and the 1970s are retro-trendy again. Local coffee chain Foxcroft & Ginger are here, and they've sensibly taken two neighbouring containers so their dispensing space isn't ridiculously confined. Various food outlets have slipped in, should you fancy Mexican, organic or meat pies. And Amnesty International and "Art Against Knives" have been given boxes, in an attempt to make the whole enterprise no quite so nakedly commercial. I accidentally stumbled on the place a few minutes after opening, and it was rammed. All those Shoreditch characters you thought were stereotypes, they came in large numbers. Bobble hats, flat caps, primary-coloured jeans and trainers, individually stretched earlobes, the lot. They came, they saw, they clustered. In fact you could probably draw rather a convincing "bar graph of cool" according to how large the crowds were outside each individual doorway. Some outlets remained noticeably less desirable, and box number 13 stayed firmly closed because nobody's risked renting it yet. I ventured inside the Dockers container because I need some new trousers for work, only to find a fairly limited range stashed in piles along the right-hand wall. Nicely done, but no sign of the style I was after, plus I wouldn't have fancied changing behind the curtain at the back anyway. I was more interested in Cybercandy upstairs, except they didn't have the right obscure flavour of imported tictacs, and I didn't fancy a Ploppy. Not all of the top floor was accessible, alas, because the opening party was underway. Only those who passed guest list interrogation were allowed through to the soundstage-and-drinks area, and the rest of us had to mill around and along and back down the way we'd come. Were I younger, beardier and more retail-minded, I might well be tempted back for a wardrobe top-up, but I can absolutely live without, thanks very much. I have my doubts how popular Boxpark will be on Wednesday afternoons in February, but its densely-packed low-rent stockpile of must-have brands surely gives traders every chance of success. [photo] [53 photos]


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream