Monday, December 21, 2009

Brixton Village by Spacemakers

What I found interesting and inspiring about the Brixton Village project where the shops that looked less like retail environments, the ones by the designers/artists that with a very brave move didn't see this as just an opportunity to sell something but instead to say something, the creative process behind their creations (don't think they where even on sale!) or a story, like at
Cabinet of Curiority

These "shops" created the most abstract and surreal narratives, and in my opinion made an interesting connection with the markets existing environment.

It would have been nice to see a connection with the past of the market or the other shops, like “mirrors”...

More information about the Brixton Village project on

Sunday, December 20, 2009

...down the pub

Over our yummy hot green curry we began to ponder the main mission in defining our 'Fickle Street' How and what are we doing with our shop front?
We want to stand out and attract attention but for the right reasons?

The identity and individuality of each towns high streets around the UK has dwindled since the likes of McDonald's, Starbucks, Tesco's and B&Q arrived on the scene.
A lot of family businesses or unique, quirky stores just cant keep up with the competition especially in this harsh economic time.

How can we show the people on the streets what is missing?
Give them a mirror to look closely at what they are spending their money on. Mass, cheap, production. Service is questionable, community forgotten, crafts lost.
And does a £3 coffee really makes you smile that much??

Lets mimic the Brands and Chains who care only about making money... Mirror their actions in our window displays across the road or next door. Make a subtle statement.

Or maybe there is just fun to be had with the concept of reversing what is expected in the fickle street window displays:
New Look Vs Old Look
Cheap line factory produced clothes Vs Vintage quality clothing

Machine produced Vs craft produced

Same mass brand Vs homemade and individual

Nearly a snow day

On a very cold December evening we trekked down to Brixton Market. The clever chaps had decided to promote a festive shopping experience by encouraging magical pop up stores. Although still going strong during the day, Brixton undercover market has also been experiencing some problems of late and a higher percentage of shops and units have been left unused and empty. This scheme enabled start up companies, or artists and designers to promote their work and create a shop environment for networking and potential customers. Interesting stuff.

{Documented in pics by Sandra D.}

We then headed off to the pub for some brain work.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Home is where the pub is...

Derelict 32 by maggie jones..
image from flickr

Friday night I went to Designersblock hq/home/pub and it was one of those 'yeah! a shop doesn't have to be/look like a shop' moment just as this pub is now (soon to be demolished) a place for all kinds of events, mostly a venue for parties and exhibits. I like thinking about displacement, put something where it doesn't quite fit, make something useless or turn a pub into a private-public-space as Designersblock's (owned by the Geffrye Museum) pub.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Displaying Conversations

Whether they are the conversations lost in space that have already taken place or the shop's own voice (is that weird), I'm referring to Clare's post, honing in on "conversations" and the history behind the space that Sandra mentions. Some visual food:

Images various sources


image from Peepshow

Found myself drawn to the peepshow virtual Christmas shop window display. I like the eye catching cartoon colours they use. Its eye catching without being cluttered.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The big question: What are we going to exhibit?

After talking to my cousin Angelos who, as a scientist is a very down to earth kind of person I started reasoning on one of the main ideas that influenced this project: we aren’t actually advertising or selling anything! After explaining to my cousin the idea behind the Fickle Street Project, it didn’t have a name then, he told me that one of the golden rules of selling is to lure your customer into the store, if this fails you have lost him and a possible sale! So I thought what if we decide not to make any money? Fickle Street Project is not inviting anyone to walk inside the store, we almost make a point of it being closed, but just to enjoy what is in the windows without feeling invited to buy. Not selling is probably one of the main reasons behind all these shop closures, so can this project be inspiring although it’s not designed to make any money? Clare suggested that this project should raise awareness about all the shops that had to close down, and suggested a link between the history of the shop before it shut and what we are going to exhibit. This does not explain just what we are planning to exhibit but hopefully should offer inspiration as some of these shops have a very interesting past and the type of things they used to sell where quite specific and unique or part of a long gone era We would like this to be the inspiring brief for the Fickle Street Project but without being nostalgic about the past

Friday, November 27, 2009

IDEA #1 Shop Sitting?

I like the idea of people shop-sitting like they do when a house is left empty. If we could get a list of people to come in and do what they will for a week or a day and then pass it on to the next 'sitter' that would be a growing collaboration, naturally.
image from Flickr

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Article of Interest

I found the following quote very interesting:

"I hate it when you can tell where the art ends and building begins," says Sarah Gaventa, director of Cabe Space, the public-space arm of design watchdog the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. "There's nothing sadder than seeing art as an addon and not part of creating places."

Future of Cities, Guardian article


I checked out the website for 'windows of opportunity' in York and basically we HAVE to get the council on our side! They will help u open all the doors! WOO also had the Museum trust involved. I was thinking if we did go ahead with this n Islington we could see if the Crafts Council (based in Isington) wanted to get involve ?

"Windows of Opportunity is an innovative digital design programme to address the visual impact of empty shops in the York city centre. WOO is a partnership project run by York Museums Trust and supported by Visit York and City of York Council.

WOO will dress empty shop windows with external, high quality vinyls which will feature contemporary digital designs that respond to their setting. The designs will all be chosen from those submitted to this website, so why not have a go?"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Council Lending Hand

image from Logo Sauce

I found this is the Environment page on the Camden Council and the Islington Council websites, interesting huh? Though I understand that Camden works mainly with the Architecture School at UCL it might be worth a try as the projects they collaborated on so far seem to revolve around the built environment so they might be interested in exploring the possibilities of developing something that is not permanent and that is constantly evolving like our project.

Camden Council

and this is an abstract from the Islington Council website

Islington Council

“The IUDG is a supplementary planning document, which provides design principles and standards for the whole of the borough. It aims to influence:
• how buildings look and fit with their setting
• the layout and organisation of public spaces
• the appearance of street frontages

Urban design is about making better places. There are two underlying elements: places should be pleasing in appearance, and should function properly.

The guide has been organised into three sections, to address both these elements of urban design:

• section one sets out the wider background
• section two addresses the need for new buildings to fit in to their setting and reinforce local distinctiveness
• section three addresses the layout and organisation of places; how spaces and buildings affect the way they are used

The IUDG states the important role of urban design in making connections and identifying shared solutions, which resolve various different, and sometimes competing, demands. In particular, it can positively contribute to community safety and regeneration objectives by designing out crime, and contributing to the economic vibrancy by creating a high quality environment and sense of activity that makes people want to live, work and visit.”

FREE Advise

Just had a look at the Ecca website, they offer three FREE advise and expertise to creative people who want to start their own business and though we haven't decided if our venture is profit or non for profit and even more importantly we haven't tested the idea with a shop and the blog yet I think it's still worth me getting in contact with them for advise, what do you think?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Prince's Arcade of Sadness

Sandra took some photos of Burlington and Prince's Arcade, Piccadilly. It's incredible to see a prestigious spot be completely stripped.

more photos here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Sandra is an open, free-thinking, creative machine.
No, not machine. Idea factory.
She has more enthusiasm than I could ever dream
to muster, with projects a-plenty on her itinerary I'm
pleased that one of them includes us two (below).

Some facts and figures:
She is a product designer.
She knows everything about anything that's
worth knowing (mostly on the subject of art, design, fashion).

Ms. Officer as her name may suggest is super efficient
but not in a boring way. I also cherish the way this gal
can tell you an idea is rubbish and get away with it with
no hurt. I hope she doesn't mind me saying that she'll
keep Sandra and I in check.

Some facts and figures:
She is an eyewear designer.
She has a seductive way of communicating with
strangers and empathising with people that makes her
(i) likeable (ii) a good negotiator.
She talks an awful lot.

I always welcome some sort of adventure, especially
one which shakes the dust off my pre-frontal lobes.
Something we three would exercise on cold and
wet mornings on the way to work.

Some facts and figures:
I am a graphic designer.
I like to spy on people & am highly interested in
social behaviours, combined with design.
I over use commas.