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We built a three-storey live events space during lockdown – here’s why

Gordon Young, editor of The Drum, offers his insight and opinion on various matters relating to media and marketing.

The death of live events. Footfall in freefall. Retail’s reckoning…

These are the sorts of headlines dominating the media at the moment. But not here at The Drum, because while others are reporting on the death of venues, we are going to be opening one.

Yes, you read that right. Our team have spent the lockdown devising and building The Drum Labs, our new three-storey home in the heart of London’s Shoreditch. Scheduled to open in November, it will house our legendary pop-up bar, The Drum Arms, along with an innovation showroom, live broadcast studio and exhibition space.

But there’s even more than that because we haven’t been working on this project alone. Our founding partner, SharpEnd, has teamed up with Capgemini to create a 'new normal' brand and retail experience through pioneering technology.

Called the CornerShop and occupying the ground floor, this store of the future has been specially designed as the retailer for the contactless age. The space is set out in zones, which include fashion, grocery, quick-serve and coffee. The visitor's smartphone acts as a remote control guiding them around the space, which will house a virtual barista to serve coffee, self-serve snacks and touchless smart grocery focused on helping consumers make sustainable and purposeful choices.

Fully interactive and supporting transactions, CornerShop will track and measure all activity in the space – demonstrating how data and insights can be gathered from the real world in new and exciting ways.

The space will also serve as a platform for co-creation with brands and technology partners. Launch brands for CornerShop include PepsiCo, Yeo Valley and Levi’s – with more planned across CPG, cosmetics and fashion as the space continues to evolve.

So what will The Drum Labs and CornerShop actually look like and why are we doing this now? Watch our video above to get a tour of the venue with the architects of the project.

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