Called Boxmall, and created with an investment of around £140,000, the concept is the brainchild of local entrepreneur and corporate filmmaker Shona Donaldson who, along with Chile-based Scots architect Pol Taylor, conceived of Boxmall in Festival Square as a new kind of "destination market". The concept was embraced by Edinburgh City Council, which saw its potential for revitalising this bland public space which lies amid the capital's financial district.
Donaldson - also founder of the Leith-based film company Muckle Hen - said: "We created these architecturally designed boxes as the right setting to showcase some of the best in Scottish design and tastes. It's also designed to integrate innovative offerings for children, live music, and a place to chill out and eat high quality street food."
Despite being in the vicinity of busy offices including Standard Life, KPMG, Bank of New York and Anderson Strathearn, as well as major arts venues like the Usher Hall, Filmhouse and the Traverse Theatre, Festival Square has often been seen as a barren, people-free zone in the heart of the capital.
Donaldson said: "Boxmall is for the people who work around there, for families and for tourists. It brings a funky feel to the business heart of the city."
Boxmall, which will be in place until the end of August, features 17 compact "boxes" or stalls, nine selling food and drinks including Hog Roast, Twirly Tattie and Kampung Ali. The eight craft stalls include Powder, Curiouser & Curiouser, Dragonfly Dichroic and Lily-Mo.
Councillor Frank Ross, economy convener for Edinburgh City Council said: "Market ideas like this bring vibrancy to areas, increase footfall and cause more money to be spent in the local economy. Local markets can inspire local permanent traders to be more innovative in their promotion and products."