The Story Behind The Space: Pop Brixton

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We sat down with Hannah Briley, Site Director at Pop Brixton, a shipping container hub in Brixton to see what the buzz is all about.

Where is Pop Brixton?

Pop Brixton is located in the heart of Brixton just a 3-minute walk from Brixton’s tube station, which now benefits from the newly introduced 24-hour tube. 

Brixton is an incredibly unique and vibrant part of London; full of art, music, culture, food and fascinating characters. Without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Pop Brixton. 

street photo of pop brixton

What’s the story behind Pop Brixton?

Pop Brixton is a temporary project in partnership with Lambeth Council which was dreamt up to make a positive impact within the area using what was at the time, an unused piece of land. 

The project was put out as a bid to local architects with a simple brief of creating “a temporary space which will support small Lambeth businesses, benefit the local economy and engage with the local community”.  

Carl Turner Architects won that bid and shortly after Pop Brixton Ltd was formed. 

We started out as three people sitting around a table in an office not really knowing where to start. Two whirlwind years later we have a full team across events, marketing, design, community, finance and commercial. 

large crowd gathered at pop Brixton

What is different about Pop Brixton?

Its mix of tenants make the brixton pop up like nothing else I know of. We have 55 local, start up business all housed in shipping containers that now call Pop Brixton home.

The Pop Brixton food is something we’re really proud of. From street food stars to (what are now rated as) London’s top restaurants there’s plenty of choice from restaurants.  
We also have some gorgeous retail boutiques, creative offices, studios and maker spaces, a barber shop and even a radio station! 

The other thing we do really well and really differently is offer a full events business on the side. 

Our in-house team curate free parties all year round as well as organising London’s funnest weddings, corporate Summer parties and private product launches.

What inspired Pop Brixton’s mission?

The idea of empowering local people, providing a platform for them to launch their ideas and businesses and watching them grow.

There is so much talent and passion in all pockets of the world and sadly, all too often it’s only the big players that get opportunities to join the independent business ladder.  Our business model and ethos at Pop aims to challenge that.

large crowd gathered at tables

What’s the most unique thing about Pop Brixton?

Our local and community ethos without a doubt.  Not only are 75% our businesses from the borough, but each and every one of them is in a social contract with their local community. 

By committing to giving 1 hour of their time per week to local community organisations or causes, we have to date contributed 4855  hours worth of free mentoring, skill sharing, volunteering and apprentice training to 1656 beneficiaries.

crowd gathered outside Pop Brixton

What brilliant things have happened within the space?

Goodness, where to start!? Events-wise we have had wedding Gospeloke, unforgettable 6 course supper clubs dreamt up by our resident chefs, outdoor cinema, a one on one football pitch takeover by Adidas and countless hours of dancing.

band performing in front of 'BAR'

What’s next for Pop Brixton?

Pop Brixton was originally going to close it’s doors in October this year. We have just received confirmation of a 2-year lease extension so we’ll be here until October 2019.

Our mission now is to carry on doing what we’re doing and keep on welcoming London through our gates to explore!

The team behind Pop Brixton and our parent company Make Shift are about to launch our second site, Peckham Levels, at the tail end of this year.

We’re taking over 6 levels of a multi-story car park in Peckham to provide 50 studios for creatives, 6 office spaces, an animated food, co-working space, a restaurant, bar and events level and stunning views across London.

Peckham Levels will eventually hold 600 creatives under one roof.  As for more sites after Pop Brixton and Peckham Levels… watch this space!

Pop Brixton Opening Times:
Sunday – Wednesday: 9am – 11pm

Thursday – Saturday: 9am-12am

'Pop Brixton Logo' written in black

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