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Though the Lower East Side has undergone rapid development over the past decade, the area still houses more than 200 vacant storefronts—roughly 250,000 square feet of unoccupied space that could be utilized for the benefit of the neighborhoods and businesses in the area. Architecture thinktank and winner of the Archdaily Innovation Challenge, Made in the Lower East Side—or miLES for short—plans to revitalize these unoccupied spaces with the Storefront Transformer that can instantly program any storefront into a vibrant, short-term community hub.

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The Storefront Transformer boasts a simple design—it is essentially a cube that can be subdivided into shelving units, tables, and chairs. However, its versatility not only allows people to rethink how these vacant storefronts can be created and reused, but it also gives almost everyone the means to materialize what they have envisioned for these spaces. So far, miLES has produced a variety of pop-ups, such as design festivals, classes, shops, and even film festivals. They’ve also launched a Pop-Up Incubator program to support emerging entrepreneurs, designers, and creatives to legally create a pop-up.


With seven other curators, miLES plans to create a neighborhood pop-up at one of the Lower East Side’s vacant storefronts during the months of November and December. For more information on the miLES Storefront Transformer and to support their project, visit their Kickstarter page.