The 5 most exciting upcycled containers

One container, many jobs...

Elliott do more than containers, you probably already know that. We’ve built some fantastic schools, state of the art offices, and hospitals even. Plus, we provide living accommodation to some of the remote areas of the world. That’s just touching the surface, but you get the idea, we make spaces. Sometimes we like to see what comes to old containers, whether they had a past life as a shipping container, or were being used for storage, it’s interesting to see the life cycle these things.

The BBC reported that in 2015, out of the 2.48 million standard-size 40ft (12m) shipping containers arrived in the UK, 2.41 million left again, leaving the rest behind to find a new life as something else. The retired shipping containers tend to be put up for sale when the wear and tear is no longer repairable for their job. You can pick one up for around £1,100. Maybe you’re thinking, who on earth would want an old rusty storage container, but you’d be surprised! Here are a few of our favourite upcycled containers:


Cargo, Bristol



Over in Bristol, a new shopping centre and restaurant hub has been set up using reclaimed shipping containers. It has been such a success that shortly after its completion, Cargo was named as one of Bristol’s main foodie hotspots. What locals are enjoying about this particular venue is that it is an inner-city restaurant built sustainably that is supporting tiny local independent eateries, bars, cafes and food outlets.


Boxpark, Shoreditch Wembley & Croydon



Constructed entirely out of reclaimed shipping containers, Boxpark is essentially a pop-up mall offering people everything from independent shops to small food outlets. According to the Boxpark website, what makes these places unique is that they offer “a unique position in being able to offer affordable and flexible leases for lifestyle brands, cafes, restaurants and galleries to trade and succeed.” It’s the perfect place for someone with a budding business to grow their following and brand.


Shipping Container Pools



Something we didn’t see coming was shipping containers being turned into quite fancy swimming pools. After spending years stopping water from getting in, these shipping containers are no longer letting it out! The container itself is sealed and waterproofed and the corners and seams are welded to strengthen the structure. The container is a much cheaper and sustainable alternative to a concrete or fibreglass pool and should last many lifetimes. These are mostly a hit in Australia where it doesn’t rain 80% of the year.


Cupp Tea Bar Bristol



It’s all happening in Bristol. A particularly pretty conversion is the Cupp Tea Bar, a wonderful little unit in the city centre that sells Bubble tea, coffee and noodles. The converted 20ft shipping container was developed by the Cupp team in 2013 and later that year they won the nationwide acclaimed ‘Best Short Term Retailer of the Year’ at the Sceptre Awards.


Stylish Modern Homes



A combination of the outrageous cost of traditional housing and some ‘millennial’ attitude led one bright American to build her own house. Seattle based Julianna Carlson sketched out her own two-story home and achieved the outstanding design using six 20ft shipping containers. It took her about a year to finalise the interior layout. All of the shipping containers were left intact with mostly just cosmetic details altered throughout. The results are outstanding and a perfect example of what can be achieved from not only a design perspective but also a sustainable perspective in this ever growing, increasingly cluttered world.

If you’re part of a project that could go modular and want to see what we can create, get in touch with us today to see just how flexible we can be.