Thursday, 22 March 2012

Vibrant Queens Parade Re-opens In Willesden Green

This week, the Queens Parade retail space in Willesden Green is once again open for business with a vibrant collection of start-up businesses and projects. The parade of eight shop units and offices - which has not been in retail use for many years - is now home to thirteen creative enterprises that offer a range of goods and services, from home-wares and interior design, to an art gallery and a vintage clothes emporium.

The former textiles building has been secured by the New Windows on Willesden Green project on a 'meanwhile' lease to give these fledgling businesses a chance to try out their ideas in a well-located high street space. The building's run-down fa├žade is being given a new look, care of designer Kieren Jones, and the interior decorations have been carried out with the help of Painting and Decorating students from the local College of North West London.

The reactivation of this underused high street building is part of the New Windows on Willesden Green project supported by the Mayor's Outer London Fund. It is being delivered for Brent Council and Design for London by The Architecture Foundation in collaboration with Meanwhile Space and Blue Consulting with the view to bring positive change and new audiences to Willesden Green.

A rigorous selection process was undertaken to choose which businesses and projects would benefit most from the space, contribute best to the local community, complement the existing businesses on the high street and work well together to create a new destination in Willesden Green.

Queens Parade will be hosting a series of exciting events, activities and workshops over the coming months, kicking off with its official launch celebration on 29 March 2012 from 5:30pm.

Over the forthcoming holiday there will also be events which are free and open to all, improving the appearance of the High Road and marking a new addition to Willesden Green's retail and cultural offer. There is also the opportunity to hone your own business skills at one of the Library Lab workshops in the Willesden Green Library Centre.

Please see for further details.

Eddie Bridgeman, Director of Meanwhile Space, said "The people and projects who came forward have enabled New Windows on Willesden Green to become a real standard-setter for bringing new ideas to London's high streets. It brings diversity to what is already on offer in Willesden Green, making use of an otherwise under-utilised space, whilst giving people the chance to try out their big idea."

Queens Parade's new tenants are:

Unit 1: Art Lobby
A brand new contemporary audio-visual art gallery bringing together visual artists, sound artists and sound engineers to create work and provide audio description for visual works. There will be a programme to mentor artists, tours and visits to other galleries, artists' talks and workshops on different media techniques.

Unit 2: Jardins D'EDEN
Renewing centuries-old traditions, Jardins D'EDEN offers 100% natural and handcrafted body, bath and face treats for discerning urban dwellers, plus opportunities to learn how these to make the products and lead a healthier, natural and more sustainable lifestyle.

Unit 3: Roses & String
Roses & String makes and sells a range of beautiful home-wares, accessories and gifts, all created by local crafters, including cushions, frames, mirrors, candles, bags, jewellery and much more. Come in and see owners Laura and Heather busy making something new in-store or join their 'Chit Chat and Make That' group!

Unit 4: Vintage Green
Vintage Green is a collective of three local, independent vintage traders: Fox & Bear, Pie & Brush and Bumblehog. Not only will Vintage Green be a place where you can rummage for unique, hand-picked items, but their in-house photographer Virginie Anne Hebert from plumkinpiestudio will all be taking bookings for vintage-inspired photo-shoots!

Unit 2 (Back Office): Paint Mine
Paint Mine is a website hosting and graphics studio, offering a wide range of business branding services, from logo design to custom website construction and maintenance. Get started today and you could be up and running within a week!

Unit 5: My Pop Up Design Shop
My Pop Up Design Shop is an exciting new retail outlet for homewares and design led accessories, sourced from locally-based designers. The space, run by successful interior stylist, Zoe Brewer, will offer free weekly design and styling drop-in consultation and workshops. Zoe will also be utilising the workspace to start production on her own product range and upcycled furniture.

Unit 6: The Unlimited Printshop
The Unlimited Printshop includes a work experience training scheme for a group of young people with a learning disability, focusing on screenprinting and other creative processes. The space will contain an exhibition, a retail outlet for prints and crafts made by trainees and by users of Brent daycentres, and studio offering creative collaborations and a print service. There will also be a weekly art club, mentoring for artists with a disability, workshops and events in the space.

Unit 7: Indikidual
Indikidual is a unisex, organic kids' clothing collection with a difference. It's all about having fun, being individual and staying cute and cool at the same time. Indikidual will sell clothing and also run creative play and making workshops, individual-style!

Unit 7: Ariane Prin
Ariane is a product designer who believes the role of designers today is to find methods of making that apply to localised contexts and that design is at its best when it is paired with those things outside the design world. In Queens Parade, Ariane will be exploring a socially, economically and environmentally self-sufficient system called 'From Here For Here'. Using waste generated from local businesses, she will create designed products which will be made from and labelled with the identity of Willesden Green.

Unit 8: The Wise Owl Venue
The Wise Owl Venue will be the events hub of Queens Parade - hosting workshops, talks, music and cinema events. It will be the information, marketing and programming point for Queens Parade and will also be programming events at the new Library Lab in the Willesden Green Library Centre. Joanna and Sharon, both grew up in the area are proud to bring a new and exciting venue to Willesden Green!

Unit 7: Punch & Juicy
Founded by formerly homeless entrepreneur Davina Roberts, Punch & Juicy is an award-winning social enterprise providing a healthy alternative liquid and whole food bar, selling mainly drinks and packaged foods from at least 30% locally sourced produce. Punch & Juicy will also offer workshops encouraging people to lead healthier, more balanced lifestyles.

Full details are on

This project is an exciting opportunity to revive and improve Willesden High Road bringing positive change to the area. The project is delivered with support and advice from Design for London and runs from October 2011 to March 2012.

A further exciting element of the Mayor's Outer London Fund work in Willesden Green is the 'Library Lab' which is hosted by Architecture 00:/ in association with New Windows on Willesden Green in the Willesden Green Library Centre.

From October to December a curated series of window animations was installed along the High Road marking the 25 days leading up to Christmas. Local Willesden shop-owners were paired with emerging designers to produce an advent calendar of window displays along the High Road. In addition, a series of public events was held on 16-18 December along the high street and in the project's Pilot Shop, a formerly vacant unit at 45 Walm Lane which the project reactivated and used as its key local information point. As a result of the reanimation of this empty premises for the project, it became more of an attractive proposition and a new commercial tenant has just taken on a new lease there.

From January to March 2012 the second phase of the project concentrates on bringing life back into vacant properties along the High Road, providing start-up companies with the opportunity to take up short-term residencies at reduced rents. This programme is complemented by the 'Library Lab' which provides local enterprises, businesses and start-ups with business clinics, capacity building workshops and a co-working space.

The Outer London Fund
The Mayor of London's Outer London Fund is a three-year initiative dedicated to strengthening the vibrancy and growth of high streets and their environs. At the centre of the initiative is funding of up to £50 million, supported by the offer of advice from the Mayor's Design for London team that can be targeted at improving the character, quality and economic vitality of selected high street places.

Outer London Fund support is allocated in two rounds; the first provides an immediate opportunity to access funds and advice for clusters of readily deliverable projects. These should make a visible, contribution to the vibrancy and self-confidence of high street places in the near future. On 3 August 2011 the Mayor announced the Round One successful bids - the award of nearly £10m of funding to 20 boroughs across the capital. The London Borough of Brent received £500,000 for Willesden Green.

The second round will continue the package of support, adding more places and shifting the balance towards more substantial physical projects that can deliver lasting improvement.

Brent Council
The London Borough of Brent is a located in North-West London, UK and forms part of Outer London.

The Architecture Foundation
Founded in 1991 as the UK's first independent architecture centre, the Architecture Foundation is a non-profit agency for contemporary architecture, urbanism and culture. We cultivate new talent and new ideas. Through our diverse programmes we facilitate international and interdisciplinary exchange, stimulate critical engagement amongst professionals, policy makers and a broad public, and shape the quality of the built environment. We are independent, agile, inclusive and influential. Central to our activities is the belief that architecture enriches lives.

People who wish to get involved in 'New Windows for Willesden Green' in any way should contact The Architecture Foundation on or 0207 084 6767.

(EDITOR: That's Business wishes all concerned well for the future of their enterprises.)

Meanwhile Space

Meanwhile Space are a Community Interest Company that incorporated in July 2009, stimulated by a combination of the directors' track record for project delivery and a central government grant to the Development Trusts Association to deliver a nationwide initiative called the Meanwhile Project. The CIC is the delivery arm of the Meanwhile Project, which aims to boost community uses of empty properties and sites. The project has built a 'library' of ideas and information as a resource to make it easier for both the landlord and the project sides to realise Meanwhile opportunities, including the Meanwhile Manual, Lease and Insurance policies.

Statements of some of those involved:

Blue Consulting
Blue Consulting is an affiliation of independent consultants specialising in the management of functions and projects from full time interim placement to task focused projects and professional input. Combined skills are in town centre revitalisation and renewal, marketing and branding, PR, and property development (residential, commercial and hospitality).

Appropriate skills are matched to client needs with the right individual or team put in place for the job. Recent placements have included management of marketing and communications (Bena Properties, Syria), town centre regeneration management (Brent Council) and management of an enterprise agency (Brent Business Venture/Park Royal Partnership). Task projects have focused on feasibility, profitability and marketability of schemes including development planning and design, mixed use scheme (ASC Finance, Brighton), tourism and transportation development advice (Govt. of Equatorial Guinea), hotel development and branding (Mansouri Group, Sharm-el-Shiekh).

Architecture 00:/
Architecture 00:/ is a London based strategy & design practice. With a foundation in delivering award-winning architecture and commissioned research into the built environment, we are driven by an aspiration to create genuinely sustainable places founded on evidenced social, economic, and environmental principles.

We are currently working with a broad spectrum of clients and collaborators on a range of innovative projects from new civic institutions, neighbourhood development strategies, and self-led housing masterplans to new service delivery infrastructures for healthcare, learning, and creative enterprise, alongside a number of ultra-low-energy private houses.

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