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Upcycled Shipping Containers: Chic and Sustainable Design

cargo containers hotel

From China to the UK, building swanky hotels and restaurants from recycled shipping containers appears to be the next big design concept. Popular Mexican eatery Wahaca has opened a pop-up restaurant made of eight shipping boxes at the Southbank Center in London, and luxury hotel Xiang Xiang Xiang Pray House Hotel in rural Changzhi has its sights set on opening the doors — er boxes — to guests in August.

Wahaca’s shipping containers stand two-stories tall and center around a glass atrium with room for 150 diners, according to Inhabitat. The brightly colored boxes have large windows cut into them, with some views overlooking the Thames River. The funky establishment is decorated with new and upcycled furniture and distinctive light pieces. Wahaca, which was designed by Softroom, is scheduled to be open for business in about 18 months.

Pop-up hotel Xiang Xiang Xian Pray House was fashioned out of 35 shipping containers that serve as luxurious 50 or 100 square feet rooms. Guests can also spend time in the boutique hotel’s lobby or restaurant, which are also housed in shipping boxes. The hotel was designed by Tonghe Shanzi Landscape Design and took a mere three months to complete.

The Wahaca and Xiang Xiang Xiang Pray House designs pay tribute to the industrial nature of the countries’ pasts. Last year China imported 3.2 million shipping containers; the port of London handles 45 million tons of cargo annually.

The use of upcycled shipping containers as housing is an excellent example of temporary structures that can be easily transported from city to city and employed effectively during times of disaster.

Image: cargo containers via Shutterstock

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Written By

is a former newspaper reporter who has spent the past few years teaching English in Poland, Finland and Japan. When she wasn't teaching or writing, Chelsea was traveling Europe and Asia, sampling spicy street food along the way.


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