Shaftesbury PLC spend a great deal of time working to improve the settings in which its properties are located. The space surrounding each of our buildings that is accessible by the public, referred to in the trade as the public realm, is essential to attracting visitors into our villages to support our occupiers.
The work the Shaftesbury team has done on the public realm has many manifestations.
If you were to take a walk into Chinatown, you would notice lantern installations and work undertaken to improve pedestrianised spaces. More recently, efforts have centred around utilising public space for the benefit of our occupiers that have been restricted by social distancing measures. In Chinatown’s Newport Square, this work has resulted in the deployment of outside seating to increase the number of covers our occupying restaurants can provide within the confines of social distancing.
Another aspect of Shaftesbury’s investment in publicly utilised areas appears annually when unique Christmas light displays are revealed in our villages. These displays have received significant critical acclaim, with the lights being seen across the world. From our invitation to visitors to look up to the skies and see a Bohemian Rhapsody inspired display in 2018, to an incredible set of sea creatures descending on Carnaby in 2019’s display that focused on ocean conservation, these lights are truly special.
In my last blog post, I briefly outlined the kinds of work I do at Shaftesbury. One of the activities that I mentioned was reviewing and negotiating commercial contracts. This year, I had the responsibility of dealing with the contracts for the Christmas light installations in both Carnaby and Seven Dials.
You might ask what specific legal issues arise when reviewing an agreement for the supply and installation of Christmas lights. The truth is that these agreements are not too different from any other commercial agreement. Clearly attention needs to be paid when reviewing each and every clause in an agreement, but in this instance I was particularly interested in measures that outlined the existence and extent of risks arising to the business from the agreement. Clauses relating to risk are always integral, but given the current commercial climate all professional advisors need to be especially diligent in this area.
Moving away from the legals, this year’s lights were poignant over in Carnaby. Given on-going difficulties experienced by both Shaftesbury and our occupiers, we felt it was right to strike a more reflective tone. The result was a well-received series of positive light boxes that lit Carnaby in neon pink. You can take a look at the installation on Carnaby’s website as well as across social media channels. This year Shaftesbury worked with Choose Love, a charity that facilitates the purchasing of gifts that go directly to refugees around the world. The partnership included the provision of pop-up space to Choose Love on Carnaby Street. For more, check out this link.
Over in Seven Dials, our display was rather more traditional. Festoons of light sprung up across the streets working into the historic sundial at the omphalos of Seven Dials. Photographs of the display can be viewed on Seven Dials’ website.
Both of these light installations were truly fantastic, so I was delighted to be involved in facilitating their display. It really is true that you get to undertake some unique work at DLA Piper, especially when on secondment with our clients.