For the last decade, re-designed offshore shipping containers have contributed to solving urban living issues in the wake of the economic crisis in 2008. The re-use of these 20 and 40 feet industrial boxes have spanned a wide range of installations that have become permanent features in our urban psyche. From innovative office spaces and recording studios to street food stalls and shopping malls, the re-cycling of these industrial containers have refreshingly revitalized wastelands of our urban landscape and given countless entrepreneurial talents an opportunity to shine. The British entrepreneur, Roger Wade, has long been exploring the possibilities of integrating his passions, retail and industrial design and the key to his vision was the offshore container. Since 2011, Boxpark Shoreditch, a shopping mall consisted of 60 odd containers, has transformed this part of East London into vibrant focus point for niche brands that are not confined to long-term leases. Roger Wade’s vision of dynamic and sustainable centers for young retailers and performing artists will be extended as Boxpark Croydon opens later this year.
Copenhagen, with its rich maritime history and a name that is profoundly bonded with the container, Mærsk, is no stranger to its re-use. CPH Containers, a young start-up company, has seen the potential for solving a growing challenge. Copenhagen, like many other European and American cities with large student communities, is struggling to offer students affordable accommodation. CPH Containers working with CPH Village, have designed an ambitious masterplan that is rapidly attracting public and political attention. By 2017, CPH Containers and CPH Village plans to launch its first student village composed of re-designed containers. The location for the prototype is on Refshale Island and interestingly one can see the headquarters of Mærsk on the other side of the harbor. The potential for rejuvenating and engaging Copenhagen’s urban and industrial no-man lands with such pioneering projects from CPH Containers and CPH Village is fascinating. And yet again establishing Copenhagen’s reputation as a city solving its challenges through innovation and sustainability.
Photo credits: Phillip Mills & Boxpark
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