Shoreditch maybe a shadow of its former self as the “City of London” presses up against and on its turf, but one venue that remains and is certainly in it for the long haul is Village Underground.
A part creative community, part arts venue, Village Underground includes a renovated warehouse which is used for everything from concerts and club nights to exhibitions, theatre, live art and other performances.
Aside from some legendary gigs hosted at Village Underground, it is most notably recognised for the four recycled Jubilee line trains and shipping containers that sit up high on the remains of a disused railway viaduct, next to the warehouse.
The tube trains now house workspaces for creatives, where up to 30 artists, playwrights, filmmakers, architects, photographers, producers and startups work side-by-side in a creative community.
Last year, Village Underground celebrated its 10th anniversary, which coincided with the venue agreeing a new 15 year lease with Hackney Council.
In an addition to being a creative hub, Village Underground also refers to itself as being an “ecological project” -from repurposed trains and shipping containers, to reclaimed sleepers, staircases, furniture and flooring – as well as running entirely on green energy.
In the below video, you can see how this creative reuse of old tube trains and a disused Victorian warehouse has now become part of the social and creative makeup of Shoreditch.
Village Underground – which started in 2006 with the aim of building affordable studios for creative people who were struggling to get a foothold in London – has now opened a space in Lisbon, Portugal.
VU Lisboa was built from recycled shipping containers with a range of eco-design features, such as locally sourced cork insulation and exterior paints that reduce solar heat gain.The carefully designed architectural layout is based around “people flow” that encourages interaction through its central courtyard and the need to pass your neighbour’s door and terrace to reach your own.
The site is based within Lisbon’s transport museum and a repurposed bus is now a cafe.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea