Cannot be containedWhen the south London-born founder came up with the idea behind the first Boxpark in Shoreditch, he wanted to create a refreshed version of a conventional shopping centre. When it was built in 2011, it was heralded as the world’s first pop-up mall.
“Back then, we were envisaging the death of the high street,” says Wade, pointing out that – with more or less the same stores – there’s very little to set most British high streets apart. “We set out to recreate a modern high street, with small independent stores.” Wade tells me that he wanted the Croydon site to be like a twenty-first century Covent Garden. And given the high, clear ceiling and small outlets, you can see what he means. It’s a simple concept, taking the traditional idea of a street market and tweaking it, creating indoor spaces where people can spend time together. “Each of the three venues is different, we don’t want to use a cookie-cutter approach,” he explains. Of course, being a stone’s throw from the stadium means that the Wembley site has become a bit of a fanzone for people going to watch gigs and games. So unlike the Shoreditch and Croydon sites, which have steady crowds of customers, Boxpark Wembley is prone to peaks and troughs as sport and music fans fill and empty the stadium in the evenings and at weekends. In fact, Wade is keen to switch up the experience for fans, by providing tasty food before gigs, and giving them a place to hang out afterwards.