Box Park takes pop-ups into new arena
28 November, 2011
The pop-up concept will be taken a step further this week with the opening this coming weekend of Box Park in Shoreditch, billed as the world’s first ever pop-up shopping mall.
The mall will comprise of recycled and refurbished 300 square-feet shipping containers, each housing a different retailer, with brands including Calvin Klein, Lacoste, Nike and The North Face on the ground floor. On the first floor—essentially the rooves of the containers—will be food and drink operators including Crussh, Chop’d, Mexway, Foxcroft and Ginger and Pieminster.
The site of Box Park is an old and unused railway goods yard next to Shoreditch High Street station on Bethnal Green Road. It launches this Saturday (3 December) with a promotion offering 20% off selected brands on the first day, plus celebrity guest appearances and live music. It will be open from 12pm to 8pm from Mondays to Saturdays, with extended opening until 10pm on Thursdays, and from 10am to 6pm on Sundays. See www.boxpark.co.uk
The Box Park concept has been developed by Boxfresh founder and consultant Roger Wade, working with estate developers Hammerson and Ballymore. It seems to be a natural fit for fashionable Shoreditch, though there have been concerns that the site may not be able to cope with hectic festive traffic over the next few weeks. But organizers are confident it will be a success, and are already promising more Box Parks in other UK locations.
Box Park describes itself as a ‘Retail Revolution’, and its mission statement is to provide ‘an alternative and exciting alternative to the stagnant ‘High Street’ concept’. But the launch raises the question of when a pop-up concept becomes a permanent one—a boundary that has been blurred by the multitude of operators springing up lately. It also represents a challenge to the issue of leases, with operators given the advantages of signing up for Christmas-based trade with none of the longer term risks associated with extended contracts.