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This competition is a call for ideas to imagine a new future for one of London’s most characterful streets, at the heart of the growth of the East End.
How will retail technology change the high street and how should we respond?
Redchurch Street is always on the cusp of change. From the arrival of the waterways to the north that spawned the furniture making industry, to Tracy Emin and Sarah Lucas’s ‘Shop’ and Shoreditch House, it has been at the heart of pushing boundaries.
Now Redchurch Street’s residents, owners and operators are authoring a new future for the Street. This competition will stimulate thinking and kick start the conversation needed for a resilient and vibrant future. We want new approaches to how technology will interplay with place, and how communities can harness the digital age.
Redchurch Street and its immediate surroundings are home to many companies with strong brands, such as Soho House, Dishoom, Cecconi’s, Psychle, Club Monaco, Sunspel, Faye Toogood and smaller independent brands such as Folk. Retail is concentrated along the western end of the street between the intersections with Club Row and Shoreditch High Street. Other uses on the Street include food and beverage, personal services companies and a hotel.
Yet for all of the dynamism, creativity and originality of these services, Redchurch Street does not always feel like a comfortable environment. It suffers break-ins, vandalism and a rowdiness that both residents and operators want to address.
The economy of those who trade on Redchurch Street has performed well but for all the brand power, attractiveness and personality provided by surface graffiti, in places the Street can feel like a place in drift. Some shuttered premises in the daytime, offices with nothing happening on the ground floor, offices and residences with blanked out ground floor windows, and front doors with adjacent entrances for refuse conspire to weaken its potential.
The scale, density and historical layout of Redchurch Street speak to a charm and quality of engagement that’s elusive - be it spaces for meeting, mingling, sitting down, greenery, gardens, historical reminders, community hubs, cultural production, side streets with a view and much, much more.
What we can do
We are seeking ideas that reimagine Redchurch Street as a destination for the future. Be it through changes to the public realm or via technology and retail innovation, we want to know how Redchurch Street can retain its creative edge, and continue to grow its own unique cultural and creative offer.
How might digital technology strengthen the commercial environment? Are there new ideas of entrepreneurship, creativity and community that could engage people anew and be brought to bear upon the place? New concepts of art, lighting, sharing and exchange? A new economic, civic and social life that could be seeded today, to thrive tomorrow?
Who should enter?
We are looking for creative thinkers, designers, dreamers and technologists from diverse walks of life, be it digital technology, lighting, architecture and urban design, entrepreneurs, innovators, community activists and chefs, artists, DJs, landscape designers and poets. We cherish diversity. We love excitement. We care about equality, engagement and bringing the future forward.
We want people to enter who can work in a team to explore how Redchurch Street – and other similar high streets across the world – might develop in the future.
This is an opportunity to develop new ways of thinking about the connection between technology and the public realm, the future of retail and place, provide a new view on communality, engagement and the pleasure of places. Above all else, we want you to set a new agenda.
Five shortlisted teams will each receive an honorarium of £1000 each following presentations and interview with the judging panel on 26 November.
The winner will be invited to support and potentially direct the ongoing process, with a recommendation that they receive a stipend to work as Creative Director of onRedchurch.
* No fee is required to enter this competition
What we are looking for
While we have outlined the potential opportunities, we don’t have all the answers. We are looking for you to define a strong solution to a clearly identified problem that will enable a new age of Redchurch Street to be established. Ideas might be focused upon technology and entrepreneurship or focus on a creative and artistic interaction with the Street. The working title for the overall initiative is: onRedchurch.
A new generation of creative industries, arts organisations and offline cultural, creative and social practitioners and ideologues are looking to re-invent and re-use underused public or private spaces. We want them to come and join us in this new domain. For further information please refer to the PDF's below.
Public realm, placemaking and culture
The strength of the Street’s identity lies within its diversity, its informality and its scale. Soon to be dwarfed by surrounding developments such as The Goodsyard, it is vital that Redchurch holds on to and grows its unique sense of community and individual personality. Proposals should focus upon celebrating and reinforcing this distinctiveness, enabling accessibility and being inclusive in every shape and form.
Technology is transforming the retail environment. From interactive mirrors to shops as showrooms for online brands, from digital displays and ‘wallpaper’ to personalised production spaces, spaces with just- in-time inventory and unique takes on buying and selling, Redchurch Street should embrace all of the opportunities that technology offers.
We are looking for ideas that inspire and delight. Our judges are looking for teams that are creative in their approach, and clear and inspiring in their presentation. Your submission will be judged on how insightful, progressive and persuasive it is.
Redchurch Street has a unique place within the Shoreditch community. It is vital that an understanding of the DNA of the Street is reflected in your proposal. We are seeking ideas that resonate with Redchurch’s innovative and independent attitude, and express what makes this place special. We would like to understand how your idea builds on your insights of the street.
What is the underpinning research or ideas that drive your approach?
How we live, work and shop is changing. With this competition we are looking to the future and all that it encompasses. The design, idea or agenda you present should clearly demonstrate how placemaking or retail technology might harness change and replace a traditional ‘street’. Your ideas will be grounded in reality, and give consideration to the necessary steps that delivery would entail.
We want to secure the future of Redchurch Street and your ideas will lead the change. You should show that you have the ability to present engaging ideas that will inspire businesses, landlords and residents. Your ideas should have the potential to harness change with a variety of partners.