From the largest Royal Mail Sorting Office in the UK in the 90s, to a venue for a massive illegal rave in October 2010, to the backdrop for an Alexander McQueen fashion show earlier this year, this month’s creative space has seen its fair share of action. The brutalist building will soon be home to London Design Festival’s designjuction so I was keen to take a look.

Huge industrial empty space

Let’s start with the “before” pictures – this is the empty space. Built in the 1960s by Ministry of Works as a Royal Mail Sorting Office, it used to be connected via underground railway to Paddington in one direction and Whitechapel in the other. It ceased operations in the early 1990s has been vacant since, despite plans by the British Museum to turn it into an “open museum store”.

The Sorting Office

I absolutely love the contrast of shiny new design in slightly dilapidated environments, which is one of the reasons I’m so excited about this as a venue. Helpfully, designjunction held a photo shoot in the space with lots of the products that will be at the show, so we can have a sneak preview of how the space might work.

The Sorting Office

Look at that staircase! It can’t just be me who’s this excited, right?! I can’t wait to see the real thing.

The Sorting Office

In the meantime, here’s a little look at how the space is being used at the moment by the brilliant Mr Brainwash.

Mr Brainwash

designjunction runs from 19th – 23rd September at The Sorting Office, 23 – 31 New Oxford Street.

Further reading for the especially geeky: