Rough Trade recently opened up in NYC and lucky New Yorkers were treated to a cavernous space around four times larger than the store in East London. It might seem surprising that a record store has expanded so aggressively? Well, Rough Trade are the latest brand to work out that creating flexible space will allow then to change and adapt in the future. Learning from their experience in East London where they leapt from a record collectors Aladdin’s Cave in the form of their original iconic store to a warehouse with a cafe and small stage area, they have made an even bolder move. Rough Trade identified the growth of live performance in the music industry a few years ago and have made this even more central to the new store but they want to offer even more experiences and monetise an environment where people like to hang out. They know their audience in great detail as well as the value of these fans to other brands. They have formed careful partnerships with organisations that have similar brand values ranging from The Guardian to Tumblr.
Rough Trade need to be able to change the environment from record store to performance space in the same day. For the same reasons the newest spaces cultural sector are becoming ever more flexible and multi-purpose. For example, Bl_nk, is a new type of arts venue in Shoreditch. A range of partners including Hackney Council, the V&A and creative agency Poke are involved in the venture. We recently took a range of creative leaders from the UK on a trend scouting mission around East London’s Silicon Roundabout as part of the REMIX Summit in the city to find out more and here are some of the insights.
The V&A’s Digital Curator, Louise Shannon talked to us about how Bl_nk is an experiment for them to play with a space that offers the possibility of new forms of creative collaboration between artists and technologists, producing both new creative output, expression and distribution. Bl_nk is also built on the pillars of Hackney House, a roaming pop-up venue that promotes the borough as a creative location but crucially also provided a space for events that brought together a network of creatives’ from a wide range of industries and organisations in the area. This loose cross-disciplinary group are at the heart of the different approach to the output of Bl_nk as they seek to co-produce creative projects and creative output from a wide range of sources.
New types of purpose built cultural spaces are also coming on stream in cities such as Dubai. The Dubai Design District (or d3 as it is also known) is a new facility on an epic scale designed to provide cutting edge infrastructure for the design community to both support local talent and pull in new creative industries into the emirate. The spaces will open in 2015 and will help creatives turn their ideas into new scaleable enterprises.
Finally, our favourite flexi-space at the moment is the magnificent La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris which is a veritable hive of art tech collaborations such as the one below and just down the road from the new Google Cultural Institute which has also applied the same kind of thinking to the use of space and programming approach.