Boxpark marvels in its designDigital Editor
I have to admit, I am a ’south of the river’ Londoner. By this I mean I like to wear chinos on the weekend, all the songs on my I-pod can be found on ‘Now’ CD’s and I enjoy playing and watching golf. So I initially thought Boxpark, London’s first ‘pop up’ Shopping Centre located in Shoreditch, might be a little too ‘trendy’ for me.
Boxpark, which opened in December 2011, consists 60 shipping containers which are stacked two stories high and five rows wide. Each shipping container is home to one brand and although it is predominantly made up of fashion stores there are also food and drink ‘crates’ if hunger or thirst strikes and modern art galleries. Roger Wade, the man behind the concept, states that the shopping Centre is the most environmentally friendly shopping centre ever created – as there was of course minimal carbon emissions needed to build the mall – aka simply transporting shipping containers.
In my opinion the beauty of Boxpark, is not actually the design and concept of the centre itself, which is what initially attracts visitors, but rather the individual brand’s innovative takes on retail design and use of the space provided by the shipping containers. There is a real mixture of brands, something for all shoppers, including well known names such as Calvin Klein, Nike, Vans and Puma but also some lesser known independent stores and small European brands, such as Original Penguin and Palladium. The brands all use the matching retail space as a blank canvas to showcase their retail design and give their brands real stand out. It leads to a both unique and inspiring shopping experience for all visitors.
It it is too early to judge the success of Boxpark, and whether it’s great retail design and concept will be able to ensure return of customers. The brand’s leases are much shorter than your average shopping centre, ranging from a tentative one-year to a more confident five years, and I would expect to see a high turn around of brands at the scheme to maintain interest and ‘freshness’. However the beauty of the scheme’s concept, is that if interest does wane in Shoreditch, then it can just pack up and move location with consummate ease. It could even move to a ’south of the river’ location in London, where I now believe it could be very successful.
Andrew Todd, Account Executive