Over the last two years, quite a few shipping container conversions were stymied by a lack of supply.
The global health crisis and its knock-on effect on shipping ports, increased demand due to people staying at home and the strange case of the Ever Given running aground in the Suez Canal led to a huge shortage of containers
This led to a ramping up of container manufacturing and once the crisis had largely sorted itself out through time, this led to a shipping container surplus, one that is a boon to individuals and businesses that want to take advantage of the unique and increasingly desirable format.
However, whilst a mobile office, accommodation and street food vendor are common and highly successful ways of using a converted container, here are some more unusual and inventive ways to take advantage of the surplus.
Make A Work of Art
For the Desert X Art Exhibition in Palm Springs in 2023, artist Matt Johnson unveiled the sculpture Sleeping Figure, an elaborate, almost gravity-defying installation that takes advantage of the absolutely gorgeous setting and a dozen used shipping containers.
The sculpture, a readymade avant-garde design, depicts a reclining figure casually resting despite its individual pieces being jagged and in a seeming state of chaos, much like the complex shipping ecosystem that as was seen with the Ever Given, is far more fragile than we dare think.
What also helps is that because it is made with containers, the complete piece is absolutely gigantic and that sense of scale is breathtaking.
This is far from the only work of art using containers, and a less ambitious but no less impressive variation is using a shipping container as a mobile art gallery or art studio.
Create A Unique Escape Room
If you have been to a carnival or a funfair, you have probably seen double-decker fun houses and escape rooms that use multiple trailers or shipping containers to create a multi-floor engaging experience.
One of the most unusual examples of this was a campaign undertaken by Yorkshire Water known as Unblock Against The Clock, which challenged families to find ways to avoid causing unnecessary deposits, fatbergs and blocked-up pipes.
It was unique and quite popular, leading to the containers taking a trip around Yorkshire’s many city centres, although it is surprising that nothing like this has been undertaken since.
A Touring Festival Stage
Shipping containers are a constant fixture at festivals, and a huge number of stalls take place within them, from food vendors to emergency medical rooms and everything in between. Some venues even have viewing platforms made from shipping containers.
However, one stranger example of a shipping container on tour is Dr Martens DM Boot Room, which is a mobile version of their Camden-based music venue that specialised in secret sets, more intimate gigs from festival performers and the chance to interact directly with musicians.
As odd as it is to bring a mobile stage to a festival that often has multiple stages and places to play, it has been successful for a number of years since its first tour in 2019.