Roger Wade, founder of clothing label Boxfresh, is bringing a new spin on the now-ubiquitous temporary shop to London later this year, when Boxpark, the "world's first-ever pop up mall", opens on the old Bishopsgate Goods Yard between Shoreditch High Street station and Bethnal Green Road.
Designed by London-based Waugh Thistleston Architects, Boxpark will comprise around 60 packing crates, arranged on two levels, with a number of trendy "brands" selling their wares from small retail units, interspersed with cafes to feed and water the grazing flock of shoppers. A treacly, bombastic PR video on the Boxpack website shows how it'll work, along with shots of exciting, edgy east London streetscapes which could have been made by the Shoreditch Tourist Board, were such an organisation to exist.
Though described as "pop-up", Boxpark is likely to be around for some time. The site's owner, Hammerson, plans to develop the area (the railway station itself is a podium, and the long-term vision is for a suite of skyscrapers to sit atop it), but in the current climate they're unwilling to put hand in pocket. Hence the mall, which could be selling overpriced, ill-fitting jeans to wide-eyed Nathan Barley types for up to five years.
Pop-up has become the default buzzword for London's trendsetters over the past couple of years. We've seen a pop-up cafe, rooftop bar, cinema, ping pong, Marmite store, restaurant, and more. Yet the sheer number of them, and their increasingly corporate nature, is threatening to destroy what initially made them interesting. Despite that, Boxpark's prominence and proximity to areas where large congregations of moneyed hipsters like to spend their cash should ensure its success.
Boxpark opens in August 2011.