The ‘Pop-Up Concept’ – Our Pick of London’s Top 5 ‘Pop-Up’s’

The ‘Pop-Up Concept’ – Our Pick of London’s Top 5 ‘Pop-Up’s’

The ever-popular concept of the Pop-Up is one that has been gradually gaining momentum for the past decade. Allowing up and coming ventures the flexibility of temporary retail spaces, it’s the idea that has been praised for not only giving a fresh new take on retail but it’s also responsible for attempting to solve the problem of empty retail space left over from the economic downturn. However, the last few years has seen the Pop-Up grow even further from it’s shopping roots and we’ve seen the emergence of Pop-Up entertainment venues, theatre projects and even festivals dedicated to the idea. It’s no longer a concept reserved for our nations capital either as Pop-Up shops have been, quite literally, popping up in cities all across the nation.

From pop-up eateries to countrywide tours from more established brands, it seems like everyone wants a slice of this lucrative Pop-Up action. Even world-class restaurants are getting in on the act, in 2012 inventive Danish restaurant Noma collaborated with iconic London hotel Claridges to run a pop up that coincided with the 2012 Olympic Games. Not only is it putting a spotlight on home-grown British talent but it’s allowing existing names to team up with Pop-Up’s appearing in well known stores across the country. Just because they’re temporary isn’t stopping brands from going all out in the design stakes either with these spaces being utterly transformed only to be dismantled weeks later making them as much of an experience as they are conceptual. What are the top Pop-Up’s to watch for and who are the driving forces behind these innovative concepts?


Offering short term rentals on a 3 monthly or 12 monthly basis, this Pop-Up mall in the heart of London’s Shoreditch offers a unique shopping experience, where independent fashion and lifestyle brands mingle side by side with quirky eateries, cafes and art spaces. Started in 2011, the mall itself is intended as a temporary structure and will remain open only until 2015. BOXPARK is made entirely of stripped and repurposed shipping containers meaning that not only were building costs were staggeringly low but so was the environmental impact. The mall has played host to brands such as fashion giants OnePiece Norway and Swedish brand Vagabond and has been a springboard for business such as WAH!Nails, specialising in nail art, who have since had Pop-Ups at Topshop Oxford Street and are on the brink of launching their own brand into Boots stores nationwide. Boxpark is a must-see for design lovers and shoppers alike.



One of the most innovative Pop-Up concepts in recent years is Secret Cinema, an immersive experience for film lovers in which films are screened in secret locations in various spots around London with the audience playing a massive part in the event. As the name suggests the company are highly secretive, but events are said to play out against impressively styled backdrops in some of London’s most iconic locations. Locations are transformed into the world of the film being screened with no stone left unturned. Props are flown in and audience members are given details of an identity that they must embody for the evening, they even stage impressive secret dining experiences at the events for which tickets are hugely sought after.




They’ve created cinemas from disused petrol station forecourts and made a wood framed ‘Theatre on the Fly’ for Chichester Festival Theatre, Architectural and design collective Assemble, based in Stratford, are well known for their inventive take on temporary public spaces. Having created commissions for the likes of Southampton based theatre company The Nuffield Theatre to their Folly for a Flyover project in which a disused, canal side space under a motorway flyover in Hackney Wick was transformed by the instigation of a Folly that could be used as host space for local residents, Assemble are fast becoming the ultimate Pop-Up creators. Priding themselves in their use of recycled and repurposed materials and their ethos of ‘addressing the typical disconnection between the public and the process by which spaces are made’ their determination to involve the public in the reinvention of their own spaces truly sets them apart from other design companies and are most definitely, ones to watch.



The Serpentine Gallery since the year 2000 has been annually commissioning temporary Pop-Up summer pavilions from world leaders in architectural design. This year the design seat has been taken by Chilean Architect Smiljan Radić, who has created an impressive cylindrical shell like structure that sits atop quarry stones on 350 square meters of the galleries lawns. The space is home to a café and will be there for a total of four months. The multi-use space will also play host to the Serpentine’s Park Night events which run throughout the four month period and are a combination of events combining poetry, art, literature and film. Last year the gallery’s pavilion, designed by Sou Fujimoto attracted a staggering 200,000 visitors.





With iconic Battersea Power station as a backdrop, this summer cinema company Everyman are hosting a summer Pop-Up outdoor cinema season. Screening a huge variety of films visitors even have the option to opt for their own private pod, complete with waiter service or alternatively the space has been littered with giant beanbags for the ultimate in outdoor cinema comfort. Food will be provided by street food giants Street Feast all beneath the towers of the iconic London landmark in the event that runs until the end of this month.


No Comments

Post A Comment

18 − nine =