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Our Favourite Restaurant Shipping Container Conversion

  • Conversion
11th February 2020

This list of things that you can do with a shipping container is almost endless. Some people use them to ship their goods around the world; others need them for storage or to house everything from lithium-ion batteries to water plants and treatment systems. Others use them to create a whole new space from scratch – a bar, a teaching room, a portable laboratory or a restaurant, for example.

Converting is relatively simple when compared to other bespoke builds as they provide a structurally robust foundation in standardised sizes and shapes that are both easy to work with and build from. However, depending on the complexity of the project, conversions often come with many practical challenges that require significant engineering experience and know-how.

At S Jones Containers, we love a challenge, and one of our most exciting engineering projects to date was the conversion of eight units into a temporary restaurant for Wahaca – a chain of Mexican street food restaurants with a reputation for innovation. They were looking to set up a temporary restaurant that could be constructed quickly and serve the Golden Jubilee and 2012 London Olympics before potentially being moved to somewhere else in London.

Wahaca Southbank – The Design

The design for the Wahaca project catered for a capacity of up to 130 diners, in a two-storey restaurant – using shipping units that were stacked on top of each other. It also involved an innovative and daring hanging bar space created by a cantilevered intermodal, on the banks of the River Thames in one of London’s most architecturally interesting neighbourhoods of the Southbank.

The design included a glass atrium in the middle, flanked by specially customised units which also had been amended to allow in as much natural light as possible while giving diners an eyeful of some of London’s most iconic and breath-taking views.

The eight shipping units were painted in bright and bold colours that were both on-brand with Wahaca and provided a contrast with the grey buildings, acting as a backdrop to the location of the restaurant. Each ‘area’ within the restaurant was also decorated in a different style.

Exciting and challenging, the Wahaca Project is an excellent example of what is possible when combining units with imagination, great design and a thirst for innovation.

Customising Shipping Containers

As shown above, customising shipping containers is a great way to create a range of different spaces. In customising, you have an almost infinite number of options – from a simple paint job and changes to the walls and doors, to the fitting of plumbing, electrics and specialist equipment for industrial applications.

Containers became the standard for transporting cargo because they are versatile, robust, portable and stackable. And it’s these exact attributes that give you an almost infinite number of options for designing bespoke spaces for a variety of uses.

Having delivered conversions projects for decades, at S Jones Containers we often design bespoke builds in their entirety. However, we can also work with other domain experts during the design to ensure that it meets your specifications and standards, as well as any applicable regulations. Also, our CAD (Computer-Aided Design) capabilities give you the chance to see a 3D image of your customisations before the work is actually carried out.

Whether you are looking for a simple storage facility or have an ambitious idea for a conversion, we are always excited to help you bring your concept to life or provide you with a weatherproof, safe and secure unit, complete with in-depth advice. You can see some of our other favourite customised spaces here.

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