Circus, Brixton Village - May 2010 Circus is a shop, salon and atelier in Granville Arcade, now renamed Brixton village, which is growing in status as a South London destination for interesting retail, art, design and food. This adds to the hectic mix of the existing fruit/fish/meat/music/home-wear stalls. The shop’s fittings are completely constructed out of cardboard with a little help from some glue and string. We were approached by the client with an open brief for their 4 x 4 metre shop/salon and a limited budget and developed it into an inspired design. The pop-up shop is a very current phenomenon and Circus is not a pop-up but a permanent venture informed by the pop-up attitude. Circus stocks a vibrant mix of beautiful product that has been inventively sourced - furniture, art, ceramics, jewellery and clothes - old and new, up-cycled or locally crafted. The shop will evolve, so the card allows for things to be easily adapted with just a marker pen or steady hand and a sharp knife. If more radical changes are needed the card can be recycled or composted. Our inspiration came from waste cardboard boxes from the Market bundled up ready for the recyclers. After toying with ideas based around reuse of materials and after a couple of mock ups in ply and MDF pulled from the skips we came across the honeycomb card which was perfect.” We have always been inspired by utility materials used in an innovative way and have a shelf in the studio where we collect interesting packing. The recycled board used for the shop is produced with a honeycomb core that was developed during WW2 for airplane construction. It is very lightweight yet strong and thick enough for shelving or tables. The 36mm thick card has been cut to expose the raw edges of the honeycomb core, the rough texture contrasts well against the smooth face surfaces. The card will crush and mark with use but that is the beauty of the product. It can also be easily changed with a new or alternative surface to suit product or activities. These can vary from brown paper or for a more luxury surface sticky back plastic! The cardboard perimeter shelving is flexible to allow for interchangeable shelves and rails and studio db are developing this system as an innovative alternative to what is currently on the market. Interlocking cubes are used to display product, constructed in solid board or hollow boxes with gum tape adding the finishing touch. Some of the boxes are wrapped in hessian to add texture and contrast. Window shelves are hung with multiple stands of sisal string providing a backdrop for product. A table, chairs and blinds are also constructed in cardboard. The lighting features the honeycomb core from the card suspended on red fabric covered cables draping across the space. Circus has been a hands on process with a joiner building the majority of the shop on site and the two designers creating the more complex pieces.


6 photos and 3 drawings

Building Activity

  • Binki Taylor
    Binki Taylor commented
    Inspired by its surroundings Circus is a beautifully designed space to shop and work. The cardboard serves as a perfect backdrop for the stores products, an eclectic range of vintage homewares, art and design - most of which is sourced locally. Cardboard is not the first thing you see but a beautiful glass, plate or trinket. Once noticed the cardboard reveals a variety of textures in every area of the shop, the draped honeycomb ceiling, the corrugated edges of the round table, the cut out open sign give the space depth, warmth and curves which inspire and delight customers on a daily basis. This is not self conscious whacky design for its own sake but design that shows true understanding of the stores surroundings, customers and owners - authentic peoples design.
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    Radil Radenkov updated 39 media, updated and uploaded 9 media
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