A modernistic mishmash of culture and expensive food, Boxpark Croydon is a fantastic concept brought to life.
Given my experience on the 30th of October 2016, I’d describe Boxpark as an imaginative blend of appetitive quality and pop culture. Personally, I was surprised to find that Roger Wades’ idea of refitting and repurposing shipping containers to deliver an independent and reformed experience of Croydon, effortlessly so blended street food with the distinctiveness of modern music and art.
Boxpark seemed to me, a place exploding with passion. I remember how, after arriving, I sat down in MEATLiquor and took some time to absorb the small elements of symbolism within the images that sat on the walls and hung from the ceiling. “What planet are you from?” asked one of these images. Yes. It was a strange question, but regardless I found myself thinking (deep contemplator that I am) about my place within this plethora of art, music and bears that sing into microphones. It’s the small details like this that separate Boxpark as a place to “EatDrinkPlay,” through its’ unique shopping and dining experience.
Considering the space provided within the shipping containers is noticeably impressive. BAO BAO for example, is a restaurant that serves authentic Taiwanese food. The restaurant is the first meaning that there aren’t other branches, however both the taste and aesthetic appeal of the food tells of experienced chefs who are passionate about their food. Personally, I found that the prices were reasonable within their restaurant, however some of the others were a bit expensive.
After the successful pop-up mall in Shoreditch 5 years ago, Boxpark Croydon centres not only around its food but also its’ aforementioned musical value, and while the brands housed within Boxpark Croydon are undoubtedly pleased with the turn around, the beauty of the concept goes deeper. Located right next to East Croydon station, it is impossible to miss. This is especially true during events like the one that I attended.
The sense of purpose I felt while watching the opening act A2 (Jam & M) as they performed X2 (DBLE), was only heightened as each new artist appeared on the stage. The conventional presence of neon lights supported the vibrant performances, made evident by distinctive jitters that hit me as the bass rumbled up through my body and into my mind.
This became more evident during the second act: Alfa Mist, Kaya Thomas-Dyke and Fabio De Oliveira. Notably, the drummer Fabio caught my attention with his presence on the stage. Slow and progressive, their passion was clearly displayed through the low rhythmic escalations maintained by Fabio’s presence, creating a resonance felt by the audience of Boxpark who watched in appreciation. After their performance I had the opportunity to talk to Alfa Mist himself, with both of us agreeing that “Boxpark is a place where artist can express themselves,” he then went on to explain “that once [his] agent told [him] about the opportunity [he] was quite happy to be a part of the event.” They were followed by the NOVA TWINS – aka Amy Love and Georgia South – two young ladies who surprised me with their performance, unifying a mesh of punk rock with acerbic grime and heavy metal grooves, notably in my hearing of BASSLINE B*TCH.
Filled with cameras, I watched as both visitors and professional photographers captured the event. Most clearly, this was shown through the aesthetic appearance of the stage which utilised the photographers cameras as displays of perspective; focusing on low angles of an artist when necessary while using higher long shots to give a flatscreen of the view the performers. This shifting perspective allowed the opportunity for the audience to get attached to each of the artists as they expressed themselves, and highlighted their distinctive characteristics.
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