Wednesday, 23 December 2009


For those who spent the last days of 2009 trawling through lists of the decade’s top tens and defining the year that was, we could well hail 2009 as the year of the ‘pop-up’. Yes, we were popping up in galleries, etsy-esque handmade stalls and found ourselves nabbing an afternoon garibaldi in empty shop units across London last year.

No initiative was as curated as Space Makers Agency and London & Associated Properties’ (LAP) venture in Brixton Village indoor market. With 30 vacant shops, in a quest to unlock local talent, market owners LAP and Space Makers asked Brixton-based first time shop-keepers to submit their vision for the units, with a tantalizing offer of three months rent free space. Nearly 100 proposals flooded in and after a close evaluation, the chosen ones opened their doors last week. The result is a substantial wave of new shops housing vintage clothes, design studios, and locally produced food to community focused outlets including local climate change campaigners, Transition Town Brixton. It’s a performance space too - theatre company Space Station Festival are keeping their doors wide open during preparations so their rehearsals themselves transform into theatre.

With some projects open for 1-3 months and other initiatives set to become permanent businesses, I suggest a trip down to the market to experience South London’s answer to the recession.

Having first envisaged the scheme, Nicola Blake of LAP was particularly keen on the tree and plant sanctuary. Christmas trees aren’t just for Christmas. See you at the sanctuary the day after Epiphany.

Brixton Village Market (also known as Granville Arcade) off Atlantic Road and Coldharbour Lane.

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