Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

TOO COOL FOR CARS; London's Creative Crowd Are Using Spartan Concrete Car Parks to Stage Their Shows and Parties. Liz Hoggard Bought a Ticket

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

TOO COOL FOR CARS; London's Creative Crowd Are Using Spartan Concrete Car Parks to Stage Their Shows and Parties. Liz Hoggard Bought a Ticket

Article excerpt

Byline: Liz Hoggard

LAST WEEK, when designer Rhiannon Jones sent out models in her label Bol$hie (worn by Jessie J in her video for Nobody's Perfect), she chose a special venue. Forget converted churches or ballrooms -- Jones, 19, opted for a Shoreditch car park.

Having been rejected for a scheduled listing at London Fashion Week, she decided to go it alone. Hunting around her local area, she decided on an unlikely venue -- the multi-storey car park on Great Eastern Street. It charges [pounds sterling]3 an hour to park your car but Jones managed to persuade its owner to let her use its open-air, rooftop storey for nothing.

Ironically perhaps, given the location, the collection was called Romantic Poverty. "The car park suited my brand well," says Jones. "It's near where I work, with an amazing view of the City. People won't forget coming to a show up here."

The unlovely car park is now the cool arts venue of choice, it seems. In a recession, the gritty industrial aesthetic offers a perfectly neutral space. They are used for art car boot sales (Brick Lane), farmers' markets (Marylebone's Moxon Street) and book fairs. The Field Day festival after-party last month was held at the old Hearn Street Car Park in Shoreditch.

Chris Corbin and Jeremy King of The Wolseley are opening their first boutique hotel in an Art Deco former garage in Mayfair. The four-storey building on Balderton Street, which will feature a sculpture by Antony Gormley, will have two floors added and special extensions in the existing bays.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Garage Turenne, a 1,600sqm old car park with a glass roof, stages couture shows and photography exhibitions.

Over in Peckham, its most famous disused car park, the multi-storey on Rye Lane, has a rooftop Campari bar and restaurant, Frank's (designed by Paloma Gormley), and a gallery space programmed by Hannah Barry. …

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