Following our look at the proposed shipping container park in Las Vegas, this post takes a look at Shoreditch London. where a successful container mall has been operating for just under two years.
London has been a hot bed of container conversion activity in the past three years, not only did we get the Viewtube facility in the Olympic park, which we helped create.
In 2011 in Shoreditch the ‘Box Park’ arrived, billed as the worlds first shipping container mall. We take a look at the impact of the project in London.
Box Park has taken a slightly different route to other projects and delivered a retail experience focused on brands, delivered to the consumer in a flexible shopping environment.
The focus on brands is different to the Las Vegas project which is centred on showcasing innovative new local start ups.
What the Box Park offers is a different experience from the standard homogenised Malls that look identical regardless of their location.
The impact has been to provide brands a vehicle for promotional activity and experiential marketing events. This is reinforced by the ability of the mall to provide pop up shop locations on site.
Recent events include the Puma ‘Worn My Way’ campaign launch, the Mariachi Doritos performing live and Tic Tac setting up a design your own pack shop, all in March 2013.
Commercial shipping container conversion projects have the ability to create diverse and flexible spaces where the retail experience is not fixed. Adding a finite life span to the project also creates an impetus among consumers to make use of the facility.
Over the past two years there has been a growth in the use of recycled shipping containers for commercial and community projects. Whilst we were working on the ViewTube project at the Olympic park in London. New projects appeared in London, Las Vegas and New York.
What makes the Las Vegas project really exciting is the committed group of people behind it, the team has partnered with engineering and design professionals.
The project will ultimately provide a flexible commercial space which can be themed and reset as required. The container park will provide a space where new business ideas can be tested.
Not much technical information is available about the project yet. But Las Vegas could become a blueprint for how under utilised urban spaces can be made commercially viable again.
The flexibility of shipping containers means that it is possible that the park could be moved to new locations. Each time showcasing new small businesses and ideas. The container park is being organised by the Downtown project a community business action group which helps creates jobs and small business opportunities in Las Vegas.
The potential of the container park to make a lasting economic impact in Las Vegas is massive, working not only as a community centre and attraction bringing visitors in. But also as a seed camp for new businesses providing low cost premises for start up’s.
When creating a project on this scale planning is vital and so is great technical execution of the idea. Currently we are working on a series of commercial container conversions including mobile displays for brands.
Container conversions provide flexible and durable structures, which can quickly be re purposed. Keep watching developments in Las Vegas as the project moves forward.
The Rosa Parks development in Detroit will get underway in early 2013, this affordable housing project will create family homes from shipping containers stacked 4 high for each unit.
The artists drawings of the condos show communal gardens and balconies for each home. With a host of energy saving features the architect Steven Flum has aimed for an 80% reduction in energy consumption for the container homes compared to a standard construction home of the same size.
America is home to a growing number of container conversions, Aprisa in Portland the disaster housing in New York and the Home in Florida we talked about in a previous post.
We love the ingenuitiy of using shipping containers for housing, this video show the story of a man from Gainsville Florida who created a home from 12 shipping containers, the build took nin months to complete, the really interesting part is note how energy efficient the house is.
When you are lucky enough to get involved in such an amazing project like View Tube it is hard to say no!
What started out as a simple enquiry into buying some shipping containers turned into a great project when London shipping containers helped to play a pivotal role.
Back in April 2012 we were contacted by Mark Ashworth the project director of the View Tube. The request was simple for two 20ft containers to be painted and adapted to serve as a viewing point over the Olympic park whilst the games were on.
As we have a history of working with conversions of shipping containers it was not a surprise that Mark approached us to quote for the project. However the project was set up as a social enterprise and community venue.
After discussing the initial requirements with Mark it was clear that we could help The view tube grow into something much more. We agreed to take part in the project and quickly put Mark in touch with the engineers we use for container conversion designs.
The original plans grew to be something else, something much larger and more exciting than was first envisaged.
The expanded design includes a Cafe, bike hire facility and a community garden alongside a classroom for an arts education programme.
The View Tube closed shortly after the Games this summer but will reopen in December with a large event where we will be present.
We are very proud to have been part of such an amazing project and to have played a part in helping it grow into something larger and hopefully a sustainable business which benefits the local community.
The View Tube
The Upcycled viewing platform and education centre in the Olympic Park London
Right now with anywhere between 5 – 6 million shipping containers in transit across the globe it is sobering to think of what the attrition rate of lost containers is per journey.
Back in 2011 it was reported that close to 10,000 containers are lost in transit each year. While this may seem like a small overall number think about the cargo value of those containers and the scale of the problem comes into focus.
Though transporting vast numbers of containers by sea means dealing with the unpredictability of the elements, so some loss is to be expected.