Market makeovers

Case Study - Bird Street, London

There are those who might say that Oxford Street is a symptom of everything that is wrong with modern city retail – a vast, traffic-clogged canyon of big, branded shops with little character and no respite from one end to the other. But architecture and urban planning practice Harry Dobbs Design (HDD) hopes to inject new life into this polluted stretch of tourist-oriented consumerism, with a temporary street market on Bird Street, adjacent to Selfridges. Part of a pilot scheme for the New West End Company (NWEC), HDD has installed a colourful, origami-inspired, faceted structure which can be partitioned off into individual units or opened up as a 50m-long event space.

Bird Street, London

Prefabricated off-site, HDD worked closely with engineer firm GS Contracts to develop its bespoke with polycarbonate inserts that glow at night. Harry Dobbs says: ‘We wanted this backstreet to be transformed into something that has a continual presence.’ The retail units will host a constantly changing programme of independent retailers and project launches over its two-year lifespan, to see what curatorial mix generates the best response. The offer will reflect seasonal variations and major London events, such as Fashion Week or the London Design Festival.

The project also introduces a much-needed civic element into the famous shopping thoroughfare. Bird Street has been pedestrianised, with new planting, seating and a carpet of Astroturf. Smart technologies being trialed in this space include benches with integrated air-cleaning technology and paving that generates electricity and harvests information on footfall and movement within the street. Says Dobbs: ‘One of the primary aims was to provide an environment that is not something you find in the area – something softer, healthier, slower paced.

‘This is an oasis off the main bustle of Oxford Street.’

Client: New West End Company (NWEC)
Architecture and design: Harry Dobbs Design
Area: 50 sq m
Opened: May 2017
Engineering: GS Contracts

Case Study - Amsterdam Schiphol Street Food Market, Lounge 2

When Schiphol Airport needed to redesign its Lounge 2, its food and beverage concessionaire HMShost took the opportunity to revitalise its food offer with a completely new concept, designed by uXus. the street Food market offers a unique experience that caters to the airport’s diverse traveller profiles: three different food concepts have been developed to offer variety of tasty snacks and drinks to travellers of all ages. ‘The grill’ is a ‘food-theatre’ experience, where made-to-order grilled favourites are cooked in front of travellers. Bespoke graphics reference grill culture. ‘The oven’ serves up traditional Italian cuisine in a street-food style.

Amsterdam Schiphol Street Food Market, Lounge 2

Interior elements inspired by pizzerias are paired with contemporary materials like layered wood panelling in muted greens and matte tiling. Fresh-food displays emphasise quality and freshness, framing the theatre kitchen and central pizza oven. at the centre of the Lounge is a drinks station with signage made entirely from bottle caps, and a neon sign flagging up the offer with ‘food’ written in multiple languages, visible from the main concourse below. Different seating areas cater for a variety of travellers in different moods, from desk-style seating with power plugs, to dine-and go or more social groupings.

Client:  HMShost
Design:  UXUS
Area:  1,000 sq m
Opened:  July 2016

Case Study -Time Out Lisbon

In May 2014, Time Out Magazine – a spotter and influencer of tastes and trends since it began weekly publication in London in the Swinging Sixties – turned from print to physical presence, when its Lisbon editor-in-chief Joao Cepeda saw an opportunity to transform a 100-year old market into a live Time Out experience, bringing the best of Portuguese cuisine, and the food of the city’s best chefs, to the public. Built in 1892, the Mercado da Ribeira is now a major food-shopping and dining destination. Though the traditional fresh-produce mix still sells from 6am to 2pm in its east wing, the west wing benefited from a €5m overhaul to create a 7,000 sq m food court, largely funded by Time Out.

The design, by Aires Mateus, is a mix of traditional Portuguese market hall – the structure was stripped back to recover original elements and materials like traditional Lioz stone – and a contemporary canteen, with wooden communal tables illuminated by hanging Edison bulbs.

Time Out Lisbon

Within the hall 500 diners can eat at a time, while three outdoor terraces hold a further 250 diners; and some of the food stations have their own counter seating so you can stay up close and personal with the food. More than 30 food outlets mix high with low cuisine – three of their chefs have received Michelin stars since it opened in 2014 – while eight bars and cafes cater for a wide range of drinks. Artisan and designer goods are also on sale, as are cookery workshops in the Chef’s Academy.

Live music is also very much part of the mix. The venue had some two million visitors in the first year, and well over three million in 2016 (revenue was up 115 per cent in 2016). Time Out’s Cepeda summed it up thus for the New York Times: ‘You can taste the food of the restaurants with the best reviews, hear music by bands we consider to be the next big things, buy items from the best designers. It will be, we hope, a big and beautiful showcase of the city.’

New locations for Time Out markets are apparently being scouted in Miami and London, though the magazine is now published in well over 100 cities, so the potential for expansion is enormous.

Client: Time Out London
Design/architecture: Aires Mateus
Cost: €5m
Area: 7,000 sq m
Opened: May 2014

Case Study - James Beard Public Market, Portland
Portland, Oregon, has long had a global reputation for its food culture, drawing vast numbers of visitors to come and sample what its local farms, breweries and restaurants can offer in a variety of pop-up or neighbourhood markets. But in 2015 ambitious plans were proposed to create a dedicated permanent space for the James Beard Public Market, a community market founded and fundraised for by locals to fill the void created by the city’s historic Portland Public Market closing its doors in 1942.

Named after Portland native, chef and writer James Beard, the ‘dean of American cookery’, it will offer a year-round, indoor-outdoor venue for foodies and vendors. In 2015, the organisation commissioned Oslo and New York-based architecture practice Snøhetta to create a welcoming and memorable venue, choosing a neglected and underused site in Downtown Portland, not far from the waterfront location where the original market was based. Snøhetta’s scheme created space for some 60 permanent vendors, 30 ‘day-tables’ or stalls for a more seasonal/temporary offer, a range of full-service restaurants, a teaching kitchen and event space.

Snøhetta’s plan includes civic landscaping – as usual – as well as architectural innovation. The scheme introduces a pedestrian through-road along the western edge of the market, to maximise links with the river. The building itself rises up in a wing-like formation at either side of the adjacent river bridge, acting as a gateway to downtown Portland and creating an iconic presence visible from the city centre. Huge doors open up along the market facade to a widened sidewalk, facilitating outdoor seating in good weather.

James Beard Public Market, Portland

A wide, pedestrian street runs north and south, expanding at the point where the sun spends longest to create an outdoor room for vendors, with seating, greenery and planting. The sculptural ceiling is clad in natural wood, supported by exposed steel columns and trusses, which evoke the neighbouring bridges. On top of this roof, an inhabitable green roof splits and folds, forming large clerestory openings that naturally light the market below.

The market’s upper levels allow visitors access to these roof terraces, with views on to the waterfront. Furthermore, a hydroponic garden will be located on the roof, allowing vegetables grown on the roof to be cooked and consumed on in the building’s restaurants.

Sadly in late 2016 the organising committee decided that the currently proposed site would entail infrastructural investment that would raise costs and slow down development, so it is currently looking for another site – which will, hopefully, feature the same inspirational facilities and design.

Client: James Beard Public Market
Architecture, interiors and landscaping: Snøhetta
Completion: Ongoing

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