Art at heart of bid to boost Brixton’s economy

News at Eden Harper | 25/08/2015

The walls of the former Bon Marche department store will be covered by 10 jumbo canvases next month when the London Design Trail makes its way to Brixton.

The Brixton Design Trail, which runs between 19 and 27 September will see local artists, designers and creative businesses come together to put on a wide range of free exhibitions and events.

Following the success of Brixton Design Week last year, which put the borough under a creative spotlight, the Brixton Design Trail will include installations in the High Street, Reliance Arcade, Pop Brixton and the Black Cultural Archives.

To promote the event, organisers local design studio 2MZ and architect firm Squire and Partners (which is moving to Brixton next year) have already announced that 2MZ will take the BCA’s Black Georgians exhibitions as inspiration and transform the venue’s courtyard into a themed pleasure garden.

Another must-see stop on the trail will be an outdoor street gallery that has been devised and created by Squire and Partners. Among the 10 local artists who will display work on the former Bon Marche building will be design house Eley Kishimoto.

Known as the patron saints of print for their bold, playful graphic designs, the design duo that is Mark Eley and his wife Wakako Kishimoto emerged in the 1990s on the catwalks of Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen.

The couple, who have lived and worked in Brixton for nearly 30 years, went on to launch their own womenswear collection before embarking on collaborations with a diverse mix of big-name brands, including BMW and Vans.

For the BDT event, they are also working on a bespoke pavement carpet that will contain a personal and graphic message the couple hope Brixton as whole will adopt. We can’t wait to see it on display.

The eclectic combination of works will also include paintings, photographs, mosaics and murals meaning that there’s something for even the most discerning of tastes.  It has already been confirmed that Evelyn Grace Academy will be taking part along with contributions from The Brixton Pound, Matt Crump, Azarra Amoy and Photofusion. 

This festival of art and design is also being backed by Lambeth Council, which says it is keen to further integrate those living and working locally while showing off all that the borough has to offer. 

And it’s not too late for local businesses to take part. BDT is an opportunity to show Brixton off to the outside world – celebrating the area’s creativity and diversity – while also generating money for local businesses.

Every business based in Brixton is invited to put on an event for BDT. Brixton BID, which is supporting the event together with the Heritage Lottery Fund, say this can be a special drink, a meal offer, a collaboration with a local designer to redo your window, a workshop, a display, an exhibition – something to draw people on the Brixton Design Trial to your business.

If you want to take part, contact Leila at local design studio 2MZ asks that the email should contain the name of your business, the name of the event and a 50-word description of it,  the address, opening hours, dates and cost to attend your event, your social media contact details plus a high quality 300dpi photo.

Image credit: Brixton BID and Brixton Design Trail