Middle of the Market: Mar-Kit
Mar-Kit was Studio Bark’s shortlisted response to a competitive bid to revamp Chrisp Street Market in the East End of London. The competition was run by Tower Hamlets Council and the site owner Poplar HARCA.
The Mar-Kit concept builds upon the construction logic of the traditional market stall, giving additional consideration to robustness and rapid assembly, ease of transport and place-making.
An initial design task to survey and incorporate existing steel rigs into the Mar-Kit was proposed, in order to limit waste and reduce additional costs during the transformation of the market.
Competition entry extract
The Mar-Kit will not be designed at armslength or ‘gifted from afar’. It will instead be the product of the local initiative and community skill-building. By designing with simple, affordable and environmental materials, Studio Bark will offer local groups the chance to learn new skills as they assist traders in customising and taking ownership over their Mar-Kits.
The Mar-Kit assembly process would be tested with the assistance of students and youth groups (e.g. those from the nearby Spotlight Youth Centre and the University of East London).
Studio Bark would work alongside local community groups to develop specific branding for Chrisp Street Market, using the 1951 Festival of Britain colour scheme. Graphics derived from the site create a distinctive identity which acknowledges Chrisp Street’s rich history.
By these means, Mar-Kits would not only be an asset to Chrisp Street Market and its traders but would become a distinctive ‘made-in-Tower-Hamlets’ product that might raise the profile of the development across London.
‘We were really delighted with the quality of work shown by all the practices that applied. The judges felt that the three shortlisted teams understood design at small scale with big impact.’ RIBA London director Tamsie Thomson