This past weekend saw the opening of Boxpark Shoreditch - London's first pop-up shopping mall made completely from shipping containers. Located next to the Underground Shoreditch station to the north-east of central London, the mini shopping center is convenient, pedestrian-friendly, and packed with popular stores. The stores are compact in their own right, taking up only 1-3 containers - a refreshing rebut to ginormous vanilla shopping malls wrapped in endless parking lots.
Boxpark Shoreditch claims to be the world’s first pop-up mall, which isn’t quit the case, but a good idea is a good idea and we look forward to seeing the Boxpark Mall open its doors in many more vacant urban spaces. The mall is made from 61 containers total – 41 of them pack the lower section in a simple rectangular footprint. An upper pavilion lets shopper stretch out a bit, and the remaining container shops are clustered to create a few gathering spaces.
The dark grey mall has a low-key aesthetic that lets the retailer’s windows and interiors do the bidding for attention. Functional lighting and lettering above each shop indicates the world of goods inside. The mall is populated with a diverse group of both local and large-scale retailers, along with coffee and food shops. The mall’s simple design allows it to be placed on almost any urban lot for any amount of time.
Director Rodger Wade explains “The reality is, it’s very hard for small brands to be able to afford long leases and it’s difficult sometimes for them to get beyond the financial covenants required for big shopping centres. With Box Park it’s low-risk retailing. Stores can sign up for one year or five years.”
The design/build developers made a stink about a temporary Container mall that opened in Christchurch a couple of weeks before, claiming their intellectual rights were stolen. In real terms the pronouncement of “world’s first container shopping mall” was at stake, but perhaps it’s a moot point as cargotecture is now showing up just about everywhere and serving many functions.
Lead Photo © Ravi Sidhu