Like a fledgling plant growing up between cracks in the pavement, a new art and music project has flourished in the heart of Brixton, bringing life to a decaying vacant housing estate.
Brixton Bloc has taken on empty flats and the accompanying square of Thrayle House, behind the famous Brixton Cycles shop, with the consent of the housing estate that owns it, as well as the local council.
In the centre of this natural amphitheatre is a tent that plays host to music events, such as DJ and house music legend Danny Rampling and Brit nominated musician like Natty — who is holding his album launch here this weekend, as well as a suitably-stocked bar to keep revellers well lubricated. Quite impressive if you think of the tiny budget they had to put this place together.
The space isn't just about parties however. It's a community hub with film screenings, urban gardening and graffiti artists, such as Solo One, brought on board to produce an amazing array of artworks both inside and outside the flats. And though it's December, there are heaters to keep you warm.
The man who put all of this together, Wesley Evans, gave us a tour and told us about what they hope to achieve:
"We want to continue to encourage and innovate local residents to contribute in the celebration of everything Brixton.
"We want visitors to feel freedom of expression, whether that be on the walls, on a screen, or just to be. This space is for anyone who has a creative idea, or wants to be surrounded by creative people."
They currently have the space until at least February, after which, the timescale for how long this space lasts for is in the hands of the developers. It's difficult to ignore the topic of gentrification, not least because the premises are to be demolished to build new flats, but Wesley and his team are upbeat about this. Whilst it has obviously brought challenges for Brixton Cycles (who are crowdfunding a move to new premises), without the planned demolition, this space would never have been created.
12 December: Noise of Art and Brixton Bloc present: Carnival of Colours: Danny Rampling, Ben Osborne and The Woodentops from 7pm
13 December - WINTERSPLASH / Natty album launch from 3pm
Brixton Bloc, 143 Stockwell Road, SW9 9TP