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Upcycling festival to turn the derelict into desirable in Canning Town

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
3:00 PM

Olympic spectators on the main walking route to ExCeL London are finding an unexpected ramshackle treat.

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Industri(us), the Festival of Upcycling, set up in Canning Town to entertain, feed, and atonish with the wonders of modern recycling and creativity.

Situated directly opposite the tube and DLR station, architects Fluid won the ‘Meanwhile London’ competition ran by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales to find something to populate the brownfield site, previously a block of flats, which is in the process of redevelopment.

As pesdestrians pass, they are met by two bustling open squares of market entirely created from borrowed, repurposed, or reusable materials from excess Olympic roadwork paving, to plants from the Chelsea Flower Show.

Steve McAdam, director and founder of Fluid, thinks the ethos of the festival presents a win-win for his project and local business.

He said: “Building sites all produce waste so the question is, what are we going to do with that? We’re collecting that material and doing something useful with it.

“As part of their applications, businesses have to say what their waste plan is so it also helps them.

“I think it makes a lot of sense. There is something very attractive and inclusive about pop up projects. If you use the land well, then there might be a legacy as well.”

Visitors wil be able to shop for furniture to fashion at the Make/Shift Market, get a bite to eat at the Urban Feasts food market selling locally produced food, be dazzled by a two-storey tall robot made from pallets and discarded wood, and be inspired by an Artlympics wall of work from local artists.

A full calendar of events is also promised with workshops, family fun days, a Ping Pong Pavillion, and the Cockney Museum’s Bendy Bus including a good old fashioned English pub.

Mr McAdam hopes the festival will stay until at least March 2013 and a little piece of Canning Town will turn from the derelict into the desirable as a result.

He said: “There is a creativity in east London that can’t be found anywhere else, it’s young, it’s diverse, it’s funky and this is the time to be seeing it.”

Entry to the festival is free with extra charges for some events.

The Industri(us) festival is open Wednesdays to Fridays 12pm to 8pm and every weekend from 11am to 9pm.

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