11 May 2012

Domestication of the Brand

Ad hoc shops in the King's Cross/Bloomsbury area share many types of surface material.  I'll post another time about the common use of astro turf in fruit displays, starburst neon paper signs, and dynamic pegboards, but here I'm interested in assemblages that bridge the branded and the domestic.

A textile knotted over a Haagen Dazs cooler reveals the corner shop's ad hocness -- how the shop is fashioned through everyday activity and how shopkeeping is a personal and creative practice.

Through the juxtaposition of branded and unbranded surfaces, consumption spaces are personalised, histories are embedded, and brands are domesticated.  The soft worn edge of a stool suggests warmth, humanity, and time, and brings adjacent brands new meanings.

In this corner shop on Clerkenwell Road, exposed pine shelves are reminiscent of an at-home bar and an icon of Ganesha shines between the flush display of cigarettes and liquor bottles glowing in the window.

On the improvised facade of this hole-in-the-wall kiosk on Tottenham Court Road, aluminium foil and gift bows ensure that every surface catches the eye -- and the lights of the adjacent theatre. (It must be said, that although the shopkeeper looks quite discontented, he was delighted when I asked to take his photo).

The complex textures of these shops reveal creative work and the everyday practice of shaping urban space.  They help form -- and slip into -- a neighbourhood which is itself a mix of everything.

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