Key Facts:

Project summary: A 3 week temporary restaurant in Ridley Road Market that featured a food-for-food exchange mechanism on a derelict site along the market stalls.

Location: Hackney, London, UK

Programme: Restaurant: day time take – away, evenings sit down dinner

Initiator: The Decorators / Atelier Chan – Chan

Project Duration: 3 weeks (Opened 14th Sep 2011)

Lead in Time: 6 months (3 weeks on site construction prior to opening)

Site Area: 25m2 project build site

Client Team: Self initiated project

Project Team: Led by four people from an art and architecture collective, The Decorators. Two people from Atelier Chan – Chan collaborated in design and production of the curtain. One carpenter, one theatrical chandelier and about 20 volunteers during the build and the running of the restaurant.

Funding Sources: United House £7.5k, Sells £1.6k

Funding Type: Sponsorship and sails at the bar

Project Costs (Build):

  • Total £ 9700
  • Labour (volunteers) £ N/A
  • Kitchen (PKL transport) £ 520
  • Construction Materials: £ 6000
  • Contractors £1400
  • Water/Power connections: £100
  • Permissions & Services: £280

Project Costs (Operation):

  • Utensils: £150
  • Packaging £700
  • Food and drinks £420

Staffing: £ N/A

Profitability/Loss: £600 Loss

Permissions / Permits: Temporary Event Licence, Environmental Health, Insurance

Project Evaluation:

Site Details & Ownership:
Site owned by Zoe Chan, founder of Atelier Chan – Chan collaborated on the project. Site is behind the line of stalls in the market and has visibility from all sides. Site accessible by vehicles.

Project Reach / Visitors / Target Audience:
Aimed at engaging the local community through food, the project attracted approximately 1,000 visitors including passers by. Approximately 760 take away lunches were served and a total of 12 dinners for a total of 60 people.

Problems Encountered / Overcome:

  • Lots of problems encountered with the licensing of the project with Hackney Council (building control and environmental health).
  • Provision of power and water to a previously undeveloped site.
  • No space for toilets.

Feedback from users / staff:
From visitors:
“Regeneration, sustainability, community cohesion and happy vibes. Excellent food”

From market traders:
“It was good there…we miss you being there… you had some nice grub.’

What next?
The project opened up discussion around Ridley Road about regeneration alternatives for the market and its future strategies.


  • All the wood was taken by the market traders to use in their stalls
  • Scaffolding was taken down and reused by United House (sponsors)
  • After Ridley’s Hackney Council reconsidered the idea of buying the site
  • The Decorators have since then received lots of interest from different markets in London about how they can incorporate similar projects into their markets to to reactivate them

Complementary Programmes:
Bar/Coffee Shop

Project Website / Further Info: