Out & About: Sandbox

Sandbox, a new retail format for emerging technology, has opened its doors at the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London. 'We want to humanise technology', said Alexander Cohen, co-founder of Sandbox, at the launch party last night (Thursday 23 March).

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The premise of Sandbox is to provide a showcase of emerging technology that is continually refreshed on a monthly, quarterly and half-yearly basis, depending on the subscription that each company that exhibits, selects.

There are three pillars to the Sandbox view of the world for next-gen retailing:

1. Humanising technology – making it relevant to you as an individual
2. Building communities – brokering a two-way conversation between makers and users
3. Showcasing – creating an environment that actively encourages play and discovery


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Virtually Reality was founded in 2015 by Alexander Cohen when he arrived from Australia with a suitcase full of Google Cardboard viewers and a dream. He struck upon the idea of offering shoeshine services on a street corner with a modern twist. Instead of engaging in small talk he thought his customers might be more entertained with VR as they sat down. Turned out nobody wants their shoes cleaned on Portobello Road, but everybody wanted a VR viewer and he sold out in a couple of hours!

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Cohen was joined by his co-founders Matt Pate and Rudy Bonura, and the three of them set up Virtually Reality. Their first project was a week long pop up in Old Street, followed by a former warehouse in Camden Town for the duration of 2016, where they experimented with VR art projects and hosted events and workshops for leading technology companies.


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