ISSUE 16  |  Going Green

10 Shops and Restaurants Made from Shipping Containers

April 21, 2014 5:00 PM

BY Alexa Hotz

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If they’ve already paved paradise and put up a parking lot, an innovative way to use an vacant lot or urban space in decay is to introduce an old shipping container. We’ve noticed container shops and restaurants popping up from San Francisco to London to Christchurch, New Zealand. The mall of the future, it seems, is one that brings resourceful architecture and small businesses together. Here are 10 of our favorite uses of castoff containers.

N.B.: Have a look at our exploration of container homes in our previous post, 10 Houses Made from Shipping Containers.

Above: Jon Darsky’s Del Popolo Pizza Truck is made from a transatlantic shipping container mounted to a Freightliner M2 truck. The container houses a 5,000-pound Stefano Ferrara wood-fired brick oven to make Darsky’s Neapolitan pizza. For more, see our post: Gastronomy on the Move: Del Popolo Pizza Truck.

Above: Opened in 2011 in Shoreditch, London, Boxpark is a shopping mall made from stripped and refitted shipping containers for a series of low-cost, pop-up stores (the mall will be open through 2015).

Above: San Francisco floral designer Baylor Chapman’s shop, Lila B. Design, utilizes a shipping container as office and retail space alongside her open-air floral studio. For more on the shop, read our post on Gardenista, Lila B. Design at Stable Café in SF’s Mission District.

Above: An inspired shipping container pop-up restaurant from an unexpected source: Hellmann’s mayonnaise company opened a 45-square-meter restaurant to serve free sandwiches for a day in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Above: Set up temporarily for Design Forum Finland in Helsinki, SIS Deli + Café featured a fully functioning bakery with Tassel Lamps by Aalto + Aalto and furniture by Tero Kuitunen, two up-and-coming Finnish design studios. Photograph from Weekday Carnival.

Above: Evergreen Brickworks, an environmental community center in Toronto, has a welcome hut made from a repurposed 20 foot shipping container that architect Levitt Goodman renovated and painted bright green. He installed a rainwater chain to direct excess water into a rain barrel on the side of the hut. See Photograph by Ben Rahn via Inhabitat.

Intrigued by rainwater chains? Have a look at Gardenista’s 10 Easy Pieces on Rain Chains.

Above: In collaboration with Muvbox, a company that specializes in shipping container conversions, product designers Guillaume Noiseux and Guillaume Sasseville opened Porchetta Box, a temporary restaurant in Montreal during the summer of 2012. Photographs courtesy of Guillaume Noiseux via Design Boom.

Above: Architects Envelope A+Dmembers of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directoryput a shipping container to use when designing Suppenküche’s outdoor German biergarten. The restaurant is part of the Proxy Project in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood. For more, see Restaurant Visit: Suppenküche Biergarten in SF. Photograph by Janet Hall for Remodelista.

Above: In London’s Southbank, Softroom Architects designed a two-story building from eight shipping containers for Mexican restaurant Wahaca. The upper story container has an outdoor terrace on one side and large sliding glass doors on the other. Photograph by Joseph Burns via Design Boom.


Above: Envelope A+D collaborated with Thierry Gaugain and Chris French Metal Studio to design the storefront for LA-based tech clothing company Aether. The shop, located in SF’s Hayes Valley, is built from three stacked shipping containers. To see more, go to The Shipping News: Aether in SF Opens.

For more small living ideas, see our post on 10 Airstream Trailers for Living Small and our Small-Space Living Room Gallery.