Britain’s high streets lost more than 17,500 chain stores in 2020.
While Covid 19 obviously played an active role in these closures, discussions around the ‘slow death of the high street’ were rife long before the pandemic. Given the rise of Amazon and the likes, the high street was viewed by many as increasingly archaic and surplus.
A new street-art project, however, is looking to challenge that viewpoint. The series, a collaboration between 99designs by Vistaprint and Huck publishers TCO London, shines a light on how modern, forward-thinking businesses can find a home on the high street. It does this by occupying empty storefront spaces across the UK and reimagining them as the homes for fantastical, imaginary businesses.
With installations in London, Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol, Brighton and Leeds, the project covers the breadth of the country and incorporates work from artists from a range of different disciplines. Fictional businesses include MeMe (a non-fungible token gallery), Artificial Inktelligence (an AR ‘try before you buy’ tattoo parlour) and Red Location (the go-to estate agents for those looking to buy a home on Mars) – and more.
“Our global creative community fuels the success of small businesses every single day, and it’s been inspiring to see designers from all over the world bring these imagined industries to life,” says Patrick Llewellyn, CEO of 99designs by Vistaprint.
“Great design is a powerful catalyst for reinvention and new beginnings, and this project captures the essence of revival, possibility and optimism that the 99 Days of Design campaign represents.”
See more from 99designs by Vistaprint in By Design, a Huck editorial series.