A network of tunnels below Waterloo Station in London has found a new lease of life as a multi-use creative space in the hands of fashion brand House of Vans. Abandoned by British Rail, the underground space was acquired by The Old Vic Theatre Trust, and after three successful years it is now Vans’ turn to take the 3,000 sqm venue forward. As the city goes about its business above, down in the bowels of the Earth the creative centre is crackling with activity once more as the music venue, gallery, artist labs, café, cinema, bars and skatepark jolts into life.
House of Vans London follows its forerunner in Brooklyn, open to everyone and always free. Tunnel #2 is home to four artists’ studios, available to established and emerging artists who can exhibit at the end of their residencies, and there’s a gig space in Tunnel #3 with an 850 person capacity and free ticketing and live-streaming events ensuring it’s as inclusive as possible. Obviously with this being a Vans project there’s plenty to keep the skaters happy too. A street course and mini-ramps have been set up in Tunnel #5, while next door in Tunnel #4 the challenge gets steeper with a deep bowl for pool-style skating.
A debut exhibition, Scissors & Glue, celebrating DIY culture – curated by the likes of Ben Drury,Gorm, Trevor Jackson and Louise Grey – will culminate in the launch of HoV’s first Vans ‘Zine, guest-edited by self-publishing evangelist Jeremy Leslie.