A little film of boxXshop

Almost ready to go!!!

boxXshop was a 180 minutes Christmans market on December 1, 2011. The beginning of the film will bring you first to an exhibition in Lloyd Hotel, who supported and collaborated with us on the event. And then we will go to the construction process of boxXshop and eventually the event.

Film credit: Lloyd Hotel Cultural Embassy

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Nest Project is an independent project which curates
annual event to test ideas of temporary uses,
and to match-make niche spaces & people.
You can also click here to watch our last event video Chapan Mart

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Share our house and make a pop-up Bed & Breakfast

Amstel Nest is a newly designed-, furnished guest room in an Amsterdam’s house.

2012 is going to be an exciting year – we are sharing our house by creating a guest room / Bed & Breakfast Amstel Nest. This guest room will be created by using the street- & front-side of our house, which was used to be our dinning area. A ‘breakfast hatch’ (which is a common feature in traditional Dutch houses) is designed to serve breakfast from our kitchen. The room is decorated with specially selected Dutch handmade / design items; guests can also purchase them as souvenirs which are limited edition & 100% handmade!

In this photo, you can see the ‘breakfast hatch’ (which is a common feature in traditional Dutch houses) to serve breakfast from our own kitchen.

‘The suitcase showroom’ is created to decorate our room with Dutch souvenirs and at the same time accommodate locally handmade products.

So how did we transformed our dinning room into a guest room? The construction eventually took 2 months – which was one month extra time than the planning – because we did it all on our own! Here are some photos during the construction process:

Amstel Nest is an important financial support for our independent project – Architecture In Development* – which is still at start-up phase and not yet financially independent. Thus, your stay at Amstel Nest will be meaningful because it’ll contribute and sustain the activities of Architecture In Development*.

You can book Amstel Nest via Wimdu

Architecture In Development* is a non-profit web platform that welcomes everyone to share stories about architecture around the world with a focus on sustainable development.

The nest of The Mouse Mansion (Het Muizenhuis)

I’d love to share this winter wonder with you for this specific moment of the year.
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It was an year ago, around the same period of Christmas holidays, that this installation The Mouse Mansion (Het Muizenhuis) popped up in the window of my neighbor’s house. Its surprising presence has surely created a new attraction in my neighborhood. Everyday curious crowds hung in front of the window; kids especially excitedly stuck their faces on the glass and crawled up and down of their parents in order to see every corner of this miniature house.

Well, the surprise is not just for the kids. I was also amazed after giving it a close look – these mice poppets, the miniature house, the furnishing of the house, the bathroom fixtures and the kitchenware…etc., every detail of this miniature house is crafted all by an artist,

The making of:
From the picture above, you can see that these water vases are actually made of paper!


An impression on the structure of the house before we get closer to look into the rooms…


The wall paper and all those blankets on the shelves…


The candle holder on the wall (right side)…


The tiles in the bathroom, the weighter, and the garbage bag next to the trash can…


The lady’s corner…


Bakery and the delicatessen…of course, the bycicle! These are mice in the Netherlands!


This is my favorite, Oliebollen street vendor – Oliebollen is a bit like donuts (fried dough) a traditional Dutch treat for December.


This window is located at Weesperzijde adjacent to the river Amstel. There are some café restaurants next to it. Beyond the event days, it’s just a domestic / and transit route. During the month when The Mouse Mansion was nested, the anonymous window has created a new point of interest. Since then, I see more often that these kind of temporary window gallery popping up in my neighborhood.

Though this year, The Mouse Mansion has found a permanent nest at OBA (Amsterdam Public Library), so I’m not able to say hello to these mice everyday anymore.

Now this book is lying everywhere in the bookstores in Amsterdam, and of course now it’s also in my book shelf. Though The Mouse Mansion will not come back to my neighbor’s window, I’ll have a cozy winter with the book accompany me.

Check the official blog of The Mouse Mansion / Het Muizenhuis.
http://the-mouse-mansion.blogspot.com (in English)
http://hetmuizenhuis.blogspot.com (in Dutch)

Pop-up shop manual by Caroline de Jager

After tweeting back and forth for an appointment, finally I met Caroline de Jager via Skype. Caroline is a very active entrepreneur who has been one of the earliest temporary shop (pop-up shop) initiators in Amsterdam, and then initiator of online matchmaking service for vacant properties and popup initiatives (popupsqure).

Besides these, she is now very involved in adaptive reuse of vacant urban properties, such as the latest initiative, BetaHuis in Heerlen.

Below is the story particularly on the hands-on experience she shared with me about operating temporary shops.

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Few years back when Pop-up Shop (=temporary shop) not yet a buzz word in Amsterdam, Caroline had already the idea to start up a temporary shop. ‘I simply wanted to own a retail shop without mortgage, and to invest as little as possible. So take a vacant shop space and run a temporary store became the most logical choice’, she said. It was also the changing moment in the real estate market when the demand of retailers started to shift from larger spaces to smaller spaces.

Exterior of Gravenstraat 12

To launch a Pop-up shop is actually more about being an activist than having the idea. ‘My friend and I started to bike around the city, looking for a vacant storefront. If we found an interesting property, we would immediately approach the property owner and tried to promote our idea with a mood-board’. You also have to be blunt and stay flexible. Their strategy is: ‘We don’t want to pay you (property owner), but we would leave immediately as soon as you find your tenant’. Sometimes they spent endless calls and visits to catch the property owner, but usually the owners agreed and sometime even gave the key immediately. Caroline explained to me still with great enthusiasm about one of their Pop-up stores, located at Gravenstraat Amsterdam. ‘That was a fabulous storefront and location, where we were told to stay for 3 weeks but eventually extended to 6 months. Our temporary shop has definitely attracted more potential tenants, so the property owner was very pleased with us.’

"We don't pay you, but we will leave immediately after you find the tenant"

"Interior? Keep it simple because you don't know when you need to leave"

"Cardboard is a versatile & low-budget material to use for temporary store"

Concerning the restrictions of urban regulation, it seems that launching a Pop-up shop is much easier than we could imagine. When you are running a temporary retail store in a space that is designated as a retail space, then there’s not much to worry about. Then, I had to think about one of the events that I tried to launch in a retail space. At that time I proposed an event with cooking related activity in a forgotten Chinese shopping mall – catering in retail space – which brings up more conflicts with the urban regulations.

What makes me really interested in these temporary uses of space, is about being in between the informal model (squatting / occupying illegally vacant spaces) and the formal model (signing contract / paying legally as a tenant), being able to subvert the vacant urban properties and testing the market. But don’t forget – people still keep throwing and attending parties, markets, garage sales, auctions…besides, there are plenty of pop-ups as corporate marketing tool.

So what are the tips and lessons to make a genuine pop-up store? Perhaps it’s important to amplify the effects – effects on the location and on the vacant property – that your shop will create. Turning vacancy into a new possibility #subverting #re-inventing #being activist

Ready to start up your own pop-up? Get Caroline de Jager’s ‘Handbook: How to open a pop-up store’ by mailing to info@popupsquare.nl

The day of boxXshop

December 1, 2011, Amsterdam

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

2:30 pm Raining cats and dogs

Together with 7 volunteers who rushed to Lloyd Hotel through the rain, we began our boxXshop construction. In less than a hour, we gathered 44 boxes from here-and-there of Lloyd Hotel, clean out the books and assembled two boxXshops in two separated platforms.

boxXshop at the lower platform

boxXshop at the upper platform

boxXshop at the upper platform

3.30 pm Installing boxXshop
Participants were arriving and installing their boxes. This is a very interesting moment to see the growing diversity of shops in the boxes. One of the participants has made a special inner frame, which fit exactly into the box…great job!

The frame fit perfectly in the box; a beautiful way to display

Participants installing the boxXshop

Participants installing the boxXshop

6.00 pm Now let’s kick off!
Before we knew, people already started to flow into the two platforms where our boxXshops were located. From now on, the streams of visitors continued, even the rain outside did not stop people coming in. It was a great boxXshop experience!

First group of people came in~

Two platforms were filled with Thursday evening shoppers who came through the rain

11.00 am, December 2
Next morning another 7 volunteers came back to Lloyd Hotel with me, to demolish our boxes installation and re-assemble the boxes back to their original state. That was a bit puzzeling because the boxes were from different places and loaded with different things inside. But again, it was all done within an hour~Then we had a nice treat of apple pie to officially end our event.

See the boxes at the background? #Cradle-to-cradle

* * * * * * special thanks * * * * * *
boxXshop was created not only as a popup shop but also a social event, where participants could promote their handmade work and enjoy creating a temporary shop together.
Thanks to Lloyd Hotel who has greatly supported us – free space plus the Library boxes in which we could temporarily use for one evening.
Etsy / Dutchhandmade has also showed great interest in supporting our event, spreading the word to their community of handmade lovers and makers.
Of course, without our 30 enthusiastic participants, the event would not be realized. The fully engaged participants have made this event a memorable experience plus some new friendships.
* * * * * * final note * * * * * *
In total the event took 3 hours to install and 1 hour to demolish; all the boxes were returned to their original state, as if nothing happened…#cradle-to-cradle!
The only thing that I feel sorry about, is that it’s difficult to give every participant the same visibility. The same problem in our photo gallery – the selected photos only show some of boxes, who have better quality of lighting. Hopefully, this event will make all the participants feel like part of one collective shop…and that’s what it is about.
You can find more photos here: boxXshop, a set on Flickr.
boxXshop-FlyerboxXshop preparation - lower platformboxXshop preparationboxXshop preparation - lower platformboxXshop preparationboxXshop preparation
boxXshop preparationboxXshop preparationboxXshop preparationboxXshop preparation - upper platformboxXshop preparationboxXshop preparation
boxXshop preparation - upper platformboxXshop preparationone of the boxXshopboxXshop at lower platformupper platform of Lloyd HotelboxXshop preparation
some of the boxXshopa little workshopone of the boxXshopboxXshop at upper platformboxXshop at upper platformboxXshop at lower platform

Rent A Shelf and start up a collaborative pop-up shop

In my previous post about space sharing, I’ve mentioned the idea of flexible ownerships of a shop space; for example, anyone can sell/ promote products on a shop’s wall. It is a growing retail store concept – instead of investing a shop space by one’s own, more and more artists, designers and start-up retailers are investing together and become ‘temporary co-owners’ of a shop. This new trend of Owning a Shop Together not only helps the small, start-up retailers to invest less, but also creates great product varieties for the customers.

Onedayshop in Amsterdam. image source: popupcity.net

For example, Onedayshop is a furnished ‘vacant’ retail space open for short-term (1 day – 1 week) lease. A recent post by Pop-up city says:
For customers this initiative is great to test a brand’s products and to find out whether it would be a good idea to rent a shop on their own. Like with exhibitions, the opening party is the best moment to sell creative products, as the artist’s own network is present at that moment.

Here I’d like to share with you three other interesting retailing stores around the world. They are not necessarily representative; but they have all tried to create marketplaces that effectively connect individual sellers & buyers together. These are emerging retail spaces that are collaboratively run by individual sellers / temporary shop owners.

1. Tokyo Pass The Baton Vintage Shop:

Shop space of Pass The Baton in Omotesando, Tokyo.

Launched with an opening party together with an online webshop, some say it’s the best second-hand store of the world with a statement:

The modern marketplace contains a vast diversity of commercial products…….creating something new is a wonderful thing, but taking good care of an object that is already there can be magical.
Pass on your personal culture.
It’s a new way of recycling.

At Pass The Baton, you’ll find Items for sale presented not only by images, but also by a brief profile of the seller. Beyond the flea markets, this is a marketplace both physical and online for buyers and sellers to exchange their ‘personal culture’.

2. Singapore CACTUS Farm:
This is a good business model of boxXshop – as I have mentioned many times in my previous posts – a concept that prevails many Asian cities including Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei. It’s slogan: ‘get a prime location for $5.00 a day!’

Cactus cubic shop in Singapore.

For young designers, Cactus Farm an affordable and fully serviced retail space in a shopping mall to showcase their ideas and products. Together with other temporary co-owners, you can rent a cubic space for a reasonable fee (and for a short time) to test the market of your product!

3. Muenster / Munich Rent-a-shelf:
I came across this article ‘Rent-a-shelf: a new way to sell and advertise – including yourself’ that tells the new trend of Rent-a-shelf in Germany which was spotted by Pop-up city (yes, again!). I’m sure that there are more examples of Rent-a-shelf around the world, since it’s a more spontaneous action and might not be properly documented. Anyway, what’s interesting in this article, is about a young man who withdrew from facebook and rented a shelf in a shop to advertise himself as an available single. Do check this article which contains some good thoughts and interviews about these space-sharing initiatives in Germany. As the article says:

A simple shelf in a small store is really all a person needs to advertise and sell their products and services…
If you have a shop and would like to generate more flows and curiosities, why not share your shelf and create a collaborative pop-up shelf shop?

My space is also Your space: Space Sharing

This morning I came across the blog collaborative consumption (manifested as ‘What’s mine is Yours’) then I have chatted with a friend about P2P sharing cars, and besides I’m busy with pop-up store by using available boxes at Lloyd Hotel.

We will borrow these boxes from Lloyd Hotel

These seem like random topics but they all shake up the way we think about ownerships.

Gradually, we are creating new values to exchange services or properties – besides money. These days, more and more new initiatives are enabling everyone to share available resources with the others, and turning My properties into Our properties: examples like share un-used cars (ex. LiftShare), share spare spaces at home (ex. AirBnB), share vacant desks in the office (ex. deskwanted) or simply share working space together (ex. The Hub).

New off-line marketplaces or on-line platforms are stimulating flexible ownerships, and creating new opportunities by sharing. One interesting reference is this infographic: the Collaborative Home, posted by FastCo Design, reporting all the spared things you can share from home:

image source: FastCo Design

This flexible ownership of properties, is one of the major inspirations behind the initiative of pop-up store boxXshop. This is also what Nest Project aims to do – mobilize individual makers of arts and crafts by connecting them to available spaces. There are plenty of spaces left vacant or available to share in our cities. With the current web technology and mobile phone applications, it’s possible to enable any individual to launch a pop-up store spontaneously. Imagine that a shop owner can tag a piece of sharable space, such as a piece of wall. So people who received this push notification can walk in this shop and say “hi I want to sell this, can I hang it on the wall??”

Further reading:
1. Pop-Up Coworking: A Way To Work Anywhere (with interesting photos), published by Shareable.
2. Home-Sharing Programs Offer Longer-Term Housing Solutions, published by Shareable.
3. I have started to collect some examples of marketplaces & platforms that enable individuals to connect their available sources (time, properties, services) to others that need them. Let me know if you know other interesting marketplaces & platforms. I’d like to keep collecting this information and share with you at Pinterest!

From mass production to Home Made.

After recommending many people to watch ‘The century of the self‘, recently I have also revisited it. The first episode, ‘Happiness Machines’, digs into the beginning of our consuming-orientated society, manipulated by ‘the positive propaganda’, namely today’s media and advertisement. Since then, the local production and consumption have becoming more and more dependent on the global production and consumption.

It is especially meaningful for the people in the design industry to review it at this particularly moment, while the system-we-are-used-to is under-going a fundamental change…lots of changes are already visible, such as:
Fast Slow;
Global
Local;
Commercial Social;
Factory produce Home Made.

About Home Made, I have to think about the time back to the 60s in Taiwan.
Back then, there were lots of ‘home factories’ where the whole family members making products by hand. Though, it is considered as the history of our economic development, and is becoming marginalized in Taiwanese society. Since ‘Home Made’ is often associated with ‘cheap’ and ‘out-sourcing’, it was suddenly out of date.

A typical scene in the 60s in Taiwan: all the family members participated in the production line.

However in-fashionable it has been, Home Made is surely coming back in the Netherlands! There is an increasing amount of home makers: it is proven by the pop-up gift shop I organized (boxXshop), where a ‘call for hand-made arts and crafts’ was announced in my modest network of facebook and twitter. Surprisingly, the overwhelming reactions were far beyond my expectation…(sneak preview of boxXshop)…

Perhaps it’s the time for me to pay more attention to the emerging home economy: besides Etsy, more and more markets, online application & communities are organized for this emerging group of home makers…Home is, anyway, the best place to start for hand made arts and crafts…

Ps. Let me know if you know other interesting marketplaces & platforms for Home Made. I’d like to keep collecting this information and share with you at Pinterest!

Sneak preview of boxx…

Thank you for your interest in boxXshop!! The registration is closed now.
There have been more than 50 letters of interest coming into our mailbox, and so far all the boxes are booked by 30 participants.

The 30 boxXshop owners are:
1. Anna Sutherland, architect and crafter
2. Anne-Lise Heydra, owner of anneliseheydra
3. Anne Olde Kalter, owner of La Farme
4. Caro de Bruin, owner of honoriginal
5. Caroline van der Bijl, owner of Stop Me
6. Daniela Castelbranco, owner of Futurerecycles
7. Eliane Roest, owner of Roest Haakt
8. Emma Repelaer van Driel, owner of WonderfulWall
9. Jo Barnett, owner of Berger Barnett Architects
10. Joana Pedroso, owner of Trincar Uvas
11. Ju-Hsuan Hsu, owner of ruru’s laboratory
12. Kaita Shinagawa, owner of Studio ku+
13. Liesbeth & Barrie, owner of pinipiru
14. Majorca de Greef, owner of Ton de Boer
15. Manon Maatje, owner of MAUK studio
16. Marta Pakovska, owner of Martice
17. Maroeka Deekman, owner of RoOkiez
18. Masaaki Oyamada, owner of Masaaki Oyamada
19. Nolda Vrielink, owner of Nolda Vrielink
20. Niki Clerx, owner of byNikiClerx
21. Pasquale Pontillo, owner of Archichef
22. Paula Huizingha, artist
23. Roxanne van den Berg, owner of VanRox
24. Sauling Wong, owner of essyello
25. Stephanie Lama, architect and dancer
26. Uno Shinagawa, owner of Unobento
27. Wilma Bosland, owner of Wilma Bosland
28. Nathalie Tura, owner of LaNina Quilts

29. Iwona Wozniakowska, illustrator and architect
30. Agnieszka Gozdziuk, aga.flo

boxxshop participants

Here you can also view the work of all the boxXshop owners at once.

Follow updates about #boxXshop at our facebook page. More info about boxXshop click here.