Ilford, the ‘capital’ of the London Borough of Redbridge is a prosperous outer East London town, identified as one of 13 key metropolitan centers in the London Plan. Located just 9.1 miles east of Charing Cross, Ilford was historically a small rural settlement in the county of Essex, but now boasts a population of over 297,000, making it the 11th largest Borough out of 32 in London.
Whilst Ilford showcases an incredibly rich history, even boasting the archeological discovery of the “most complete mammoth skull ever found in Britain”, a fossil over 200,000 years old, the future of the town looks set to be equally as successful. With the arrival of the Elizabeth line, Ilford is set for transformative developments. A new station, connecting Ilford residents to London in just 15 minutes, is in the pipeline, as well as £23 million of public realm investments. 6000 new homes are expected to be built by 2030, bringing 16,000 new residents to the Borough. This is truly the time for Redbridge to shine as a leading London Borough and a fantastic place to live, work and enjoy.
120/122 High Road, Ilford, IG1 1BY
SPARK Lab will be situated in the Deco Building; the site of the former Dorothy Perkins and Burton clothing store, which closed in 2020 following the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The former Dorothy Perkins will be transformed into a flexible open space that will provide opportunities for local organisations, entrepreneurs, start-ups community groups or artists to test their ideas right on the high street.
The design focuses on presenting a flexible and multifunctional space with the ability to be temporarily taken over and customised by the participating collaborators. The Lab comprises an empty 60-200sqm space at the front of the unit, and a series of mobile partitions that will allow the chosen participators to curate the size and compositions of the space.
From a small 60sqm pop-up shop to 200sqm exhibition, The Lab can be adapted a variety of different residencies types and uses.
A catalogue of multifunctional mobile furniture items will be provided to further facilitate a wide variety of potential uses and occupants in the space.
Whether cultural or business focused it is important that you consider how your proposal is truly relevant to Ilford and its communities. We are looking for people with a bespoke idea for Ilford – if your idea would be just as at home in Islington as in Ilford we ask that you think about how you will tailor your idea to be madly, deeply ILFORD.
The SPARK Ilford aims to create and establish an economically vibrant Cultural Quarter, where business and creative enterprise can thrive alongside a diverse cultural and leisure experience. Kick-started through the introduction of Mercato Metropolitano and SPACE Studios, Ilford has already seen the transformation of the Redbridge Town Hall into an exciting hub of arts, opening 35 studios for artists, makers and creative businesses alongside a public gallery. To its rear, the former Town Hall car park is currently being reimagined and will be home to a covered food market promoting fresh food from local growers alongside a community space offering cooking classes, food growing and health and fitness classes. The market aims to be the UK’s first circular-economy community food market, with an urban farm on the rooftop producing herbs and vegetables for the restaurants and retailers downstairs.
Do you have a super exciting, creative idea that you’d like to test out on Ilford High Street? Or perhaps lockdown has got you thinking about an amazing idea to bring the community back together? Maybe you’re an organisation that is looking to share your skills, expertise or performances with a wider audience? Or an individual looking to launch a sustainable new business venture?
SPARK Lab is an exciting new space based on Ilford High Street, providing an opportunity for makers, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators to share their passions and skills with Ilford. Like so many places across the country, Ilford is fighting off the effects of shop closures on the high street, which have been further accelerated by the recent covid pandemic. Using the town centre fabric as a creative and entrepreneurial canvas, SPARK Lab reimagines the purposes of existing town assets to host a year-long programme of ever-changing activity.