Meet Sam Derrick from Brinkworth


15 Jul 17

Last month saw the launch of Boxpark Shoreditch 2.0. The idea was to make the site accommodating in all weathers, making it accessible and comfortable all year round. The man behind this project was Sam Derrick from the leading design agency, Brinkworth. We sat him down to talk about his journey in reinvigorating Boxpark Shoreditch…

Tell us who you are and what you do.

I’m Sam Derrick, a director at Brinkworth, we’re a design agency working across a range of disciplines including architecture, experiential, hospitality and retail design. With an architectural approach to interiors, we design, develop and deliver spaces for a broad range of clients and brands.

You’ve recently designed the new upper deck at Boxpark Shoreditch. Can you talk us through your process.

Yes, we were approached by Boxpark’s creator, Roger Wade, to come up with some concepts for refreshing the Shoreditch site, looking at ways to ‘winterise’ and improve the acoustics of the food and beverage spaces on the upper deck. This followed an original brief to design an urban garden for the site that would have been added above. We also recently worked on the Croydon site which was very well received and looked to take some of the learnings from that site back to Boxpark’s ‘home’.

Ultimately, our approach was relatively simple, and focused on three key aspects of the site, and brief.

We looked to optimize the unused spaces to create comfortable areas that could be used in the same way as the original garden brief, or at Croydon, without the complexities, and arduous planning process involved in adding a third tier or the luxury of space that Croydon had.

Secondly, we looked to create lighter, brighter, more inviting, spaces that provided protection against the elements with the addition of glazed walls and a steel and poly carbonate roof structure.

Thirdly, we looked to use the roof structure to create a consistent datum along the front façade to tidy up what had, over the years, become a messy front face for the Boxpark site, and brand.

Where do you find inspiration when it comes to working on a project like Boxpark?

Boxpark already has such a simple, strong brand language based around the shipping container structure, monochromatic print and a simple, utilitarian materials palette. Inspiration for this particular project actually came from really analysing the existing schemes, and reviewing the site to optimize what we already had. It was a case of bringing our design thinking over the course of many years working with Boxpark and applying it to the site, rather than too many external references.  

How did it feel to see it all come together at the re-launch?

Great! Unlike most projects, we were only involved in the concept stage of this project, with Chalk Architects taking over development and delivery. The launch event was the first time I’d seen anything material and the original concept had been interpreted and delivered very well. Obviously the practical requirements of the brief, lighting, heating, furniture, structure etc. have been thought through holistically, which helps the scheme feel much more considered. But importantly, the spaces created just have a much better feel than before, which is a less tangible sign of success, and testament to the teams involved throughout the project.

How do set-ups like Boxpark compare to other sites you’ve worked on?

It’s hard to compare this project to others as it was a renovation, so it was very site specific.  

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for you?

Lots of shop openings, mainly sports and streetwear stores at the moment. And having another kid!

Finally, what was the last song you listened to?

Back from the Dead, People Under The Stairs