Colourful hub brightens up grey, desolate Archway Mall

Tim Sperryn outside Fads

Tim Sperryn outside Fads - Credit: Archant

A grey, slightly desolate, often unloved patch of Archway is getting a new lease of life from colourful community hub.

Fads, based in the former carpet shop of the same name in Archway Mall, is a bid to inject some zip in the down-at-heel shopping plaza.

It’s the brainchild of developed Bode, who have bought the mall, the space behind the mall and Hill House, which towers over both spaces, and will be radically re-developing them over the coming years.

But while the plans crawl their way through town hall corridors, rather than leave the area bereft, they’ve decided to turn the vacant shop into a hub, offering training for the unemployed, pop-up food and film events and offering free rent for good causes.

Tim Sperryn, from Cube Space who are managing fads on behalf of the developer, said; “Bode got in touch with me because I know the area and they wanted to grow it from the ground up.

“It’s exciting because something is now going on somewhere that has been disused, and even a bit grim, for years.

“The initial idea was to show the community what was going on with the development without relying on a boring consultations, which always seem to attract a certain type of persons, whereas here we get people from all walks of life.

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“From there it grew into this hub, funded by Bode so we can put stuff on for next to nothing, and subsidise rent for people who want to use it.”

As well as monthly Barrista training for unemployed people from Islington, Fads has hosted art exhibitions and events - including seeing prestigious painter Pete Fowler decorate the walls – lupus awareness day, Creative Islington events and children’s TV favourite Rastamouse as part of the Archway with words festival.

Already in the pipeline are food pop-ups, a potential Christmas bazaar and a one man film show, in which a movie aficionado gives an talk and then screens a classic on an old projector.

But the team are still keen to hear from local people with good ideas for the space.

“It sort of puts pressure back on community to get involved,” said Mr Sperryn.

“We’ve been getting all sorts of emails, from those wanting to do a domestic appliance repair hub, to people wanting to host an all night rave - we’re not going to do that one.

“September was a tricky month but now it’s getting busier and busier.

“We are careful not to take away from other business in the area, but any profit we do make is ploughed back in.

“Basically Bode are funding the arts, which is rare.”

Fads is one of a number of projects that promise an interesting future for Archway, including the refurbishment of the tower, getting rid of the unloved gyratory, a new hotel and famous rock pub the Intrepid Fox taking over the Archway Tavern, in Archway Road.

Mr Sperryn said: “Just us doing the weeding and clearing the litter in the mall makes a big difference.

“I hope we’re a bright spot in a slightly desolate concrete landscape.

“But in five years the area will have totally changed I think.

“There are so many possibilities and it’s a blank canvas.

“ I don’t want to sound naive but this seems all good news for the area.”

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