At the end of May the HemingwayDesign brand, placemaking and events teams received an email from our Wayne titled ‘MediaCity Piazza Proposal - Get the Restaurants Trading.’ The message said:
“See attached... this is potentially really exciting... but we have to move fast”
So we moved fast - we Zoomed, we discussed, we researched, we designed, we wrote, we branded, we put a bid together, we presented, we won and five working days later the project began.
Box on the Docks was conceived by MediaCity as a way to support their hospitality businesses through Covid recovery by creating self-contained dining pods that allow visitors to return to their favourite bars and restaurants whilst safely social distancing. The HemingwayDesign team loved this idea, and also saw this as an opportunity to build on our existing place-based work at MediaCity by including a bit of what we do best - bringing communities together and supporting small businesses through cultural interventions, creativity, and imaginative use of public space.
So over the next few weeks we mapped the site, bought sheds and greenhouses, established relationships with local artists , studios and colleges, developed the branding and signage (all remotely of course) and on the 18th of July the first phase of the installation began.
It’s been a whirlwind, and we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved with the team at MediaCity and dozens of talented local artists. By the beginning of August, there’ll be 30 Boxes on the Dock, each one an individual art installation with wireless connection to bespoke BBC Sounds mixes and soundscapes, as well as a place to eat, drink and relax.
There’s boxes that are hand painted with bold colours, sprayed with street art, covered in poems, illuminated with neon or UV and plenty of opportunities to get interactive. We hope each one will go some small way to supporting the visitor economy and creative industries of Greater Manchester at a time when they need it most.
We've even had a Box on the Docks wedding take place - congratulations Ellie and Lauren!