In Pictures: Pop-Up Shopping Mall Boxpark Opens In Shoreditch

By M@ Last edited 76 months ago
In Pictures: Pop-Up Shopping Mall Boxpark Opens In Shoreditch

It's the most-talked-about-new-shopping-mall-built-from-shipping-containers in London's history. Boxpark opens in Shoreditch tomorrow, bringing 'more than sixty carefully chosen fashion, arts and lifestyle brands' to the derelict land around the similarly blocky Shoreditch station.

The concept is simple and imaginative. Take 60 standard shipping containers, paint them black and arrange them into a small village of retail outlets. Then invite a few dozen brands 'packed with talent, innovation and attitude' to inhabit the units. Roger Wade, the brains behind the idea, is so confident of the scheme's success, he's now touting six to twelve additional Boxparks around London, with another ready for Christmas next year.

No question, Boxpark will be a success. Shoreditch's vibrant start-up, media and creative industries are awash with spending power, with no comparable shopping centre nearby. And the mix of outlets is impressive, at least by shopping mall standards. You won't find a Cybercandy in Westfield, for example.

Alongside retail, some of London's freshest food chains are also present and correct. Salad masters Chopp'd can do no wrong in our eyes, nor can juice bar Crussh. And it's great to see market favourite Pieminister dishing up in Shoreditch. Boxpark offers cheap and short-term rents to help these young companies get a foothold in a new part of town where the cost of hiring space is otherwise rocketing. Even charities such as Art Against Knives are on Boxpark's tenant list.

And yet this innovative mall is also something of a commercial Janus. On the one hand, it describes itself as 'a home that nurtures the smaller brands, the edgy and innovative round pegs that can’t afford and won’t fit in to the high street’s square holes'. On the other, you'll find units inhabited by the likes of Nike, Calvin Klein and Levi's. Some fear that offering cheap and risk-free beachheads to such companies might open the door for a big-brand influx, hiking the cost of living in the area even further. We'll see.

So a tentative 'welcome' to the experimental mall, with one eye on what it might presage.

All images by Chris Osburn.

Last Updated 02 December 2011

Dean Nicholas

From what I've seen of Boxpark, it's an unoriginal idea passing itself off as something revolutionary, one that's been poorly executed, and is likely to benefit only the big brands and allow them to dabble with the retail environment in a new part of London without having to risk time or money in establishing a real location. A benefit to the brands, then, but not to the local area. And then there's this nasty little matter too:


No mention of it opening 6 months late?

Kazi V

How many local people are employed there?

This is another example of the ethnic and social cleansing that’s
been happening in the area over the last decade.


I actually went to a mall made from shipping containers in Thailand in 2008. There were stores downstairs and restaurants with 'terraces' on the roof. Sure, the stores and target audience was different to this, but it was still one of the coolest things I'd seen at the time. I remember the coffee shop had ipod docks and personal listening domes you sat under, which back then was quite something. The whole thing was basically a cheap and easy way for them to get things going again quickly after the tsunami without serious construction.

Boxpark should be a success, but it's really not much different from the freestanding structures that were put inside Old Spitalfields market. Hardly revolutionary. 

M Salkeld

I haven t been there yet but looking at these pictures , could they have made it look more DRAB,What a disapiontamt