Sally Kinnes investigates a new market in Edinburgh
A one-time bookies and former venue for Judy Chicago‘s controversial and feminist exhibition, The Dinner Party, the first ﬂoor of the Preservation Hall has undergone another transformation. Furniture designer John McIntyre and his architect wife, Marian have hit on a new design and purpose for the cavernous hall and turned it into a market place of design, antiques, imported goods and otherwise hard-to-get jewellery, clothes and gifts.
One striking and impressive feature of the hall — essentially one big room — is its steel-buttressed
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gallery or upper level which changes the shape without changing the structure of the building. on this ‘ﬂoating mezzanine floor‘. designed by John, is the cafe Kinncil, a licensed and bistro-style restaurant. The cafe, beneath a domed ceiling, looks down on the stalls: ‘social studio shopping‘ is how Marian describes it.
Between the open wire-mesh screens, African ‘flying mausse‘ necklaces (Kenyan for mosquito) invite closer inspection. as do the daffodil lamps set on pink kitchen-broom supported shelving of Route 66. An 1870 American flag (stars and stripes carefully counted for date) and child-sized versions of African baskets, used in Kenya as Christmas tree decorations. suggest themselves as unusual Christmas presents, and the McIntyres hope to make it a first-thought-ofplace for finding a present. as well as a cosmopolitan Constantinople-inspired emporium as its middle eastern name implies. It brings together under one roof 3 good mixture of styles and eras, including Russian-style hats, Paisley shawls and nineteenth century
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furniture makers‘ tools. as well as rugs, suitcases, paintings. prints and drawings.
The McIntyres have made it a deliberate policy to pitch rents fairly low (£45 per week) so as not to exclude those just starting out in business and to give a good balance to the market. They hope the
Byzantium will fill a gap by offering a
venue where a permanent stock can be built up for a low rent. Selling through craft fairs offers a good return but at the expense oftime and distance and though retailers offer permanent premises, it is at the cost ofan inevitable mark-up.
The emphasis is on quality. though not necessarily on price, and there are some items from as little as 30 pence. It is aimed to run it not as a ‘police state’, like some markets, but fairly democratically, asking only that stalls should have at least a minder all the time — closed units alongside open ones have a decidedly deadening effect. Shared units are also encouraged, to reduce the rent and increase the variety.
Some units are still available on the upper ﬂoor, price £40 per week, inclusive of rates, electricity and publicity. Minimum period one month, size 8’ x 6’. Details ofcontract and conditions available on request from Byzantium, Victoria Street, Edinburgh. 031 2251768. Byzantium is open Mon—Sat 10am—5.30pm and will be open three Sunday afternoons before Christmas. Cafe K innell is open all trading hours. It is a licensed counter—service restaurant, selling high-quality home-made food. Lunch main course approx. £1—£2.50, puddings £1—£1.50. House wine£5.50, continental and German beer, £1. A choice of seven different teas and coffees all day (a cafetiere for one, 45 pence) and home baking from 14pence available all day. A Christmas menu will be offered from the end of November.
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The List 14 - 27 November 41