Five years ago, before their company even had its name, three people asked the question: how can we turn unused space into a community asset? From that premise, Pop Brixton was born.
Pop Brixton is the product of a company now called Make Shift, which aims at prioritizing local businesses. The pop-up, which was never designed to be permanent, has been in it’s Brixton, UK location for five years.
What's at Pop Brixton?
The site has numerous features: shipping containers that give local businesses a chance to make their debut, a community garden, a “peoples’ fridge” that is meant to help battle hunger and give people a place to donate food, a barber shop, a performance venue, and a radio station, where 18 to 24 year olds get to try their hand at the radio business.
On the weekends, Pop Brixton welcomes DJs or other live performers into it’s music hall, which draws large crowds from the community and greater London.
When a business owner signs a contract at Pop Brixton, part of the agreement is that they have to give back to the surrounding community.
As part of the lease, businesses need to spend one hour each week giving back. For one restaurant, Koi Ramen Bar, this means hosting karate lessons every Tuesday that are free to the public.
In contrast to the farmers-market-like layout of shipping containers each housing their own local shops, the upstairs portion of Pop Brixton is home to restaurants with their own seating areas.
The goal of the restaurant area is for them to hopefully graduate and become full-fledged restaurants outside of the pop-up. Smoke and Salt, one of the restaurants that currently resides on the second floor, is about to move out; before them, Cricket was in their spot, and now, it has three locations in London.