The New Wahaca Pop-Up Project – A Shipping Container Restaurant In London

Shipping container houses, railway stations, libraries and even restaurants out of shipping containers has made recycling cool and fashionable, giving us one more reason to be green and Eco-conscious. But there are other benefits to this as well.

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This new Wahaca Mexican Restaurant recently opened outside the Southbank Center in London. It was a project by the London-based architects from Softroom, a company founded in 1995 and led by two directors, Christopher Bagot and Oliver Salway. Their work has always been considered sensitive to culture and location, making the company perfect for the job.

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The restaurant was built using eight shipping containers and functions as an experimental kitchen with monthly food specials over the course of 18 months. After this period, the restaurant will move to another location.

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Shipping containers were chosen for the project for practical reasons but also because they are reminiscent of the history of this particular area in London. The containers were organized in such a way that two floors can fit in the volume of a single-storey space with a glass atrium at its center.

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Each container was painted in one of four vibrant colors which contrast with the restaurant’s gray surroundings. In total, it seats 130 diners. The upper floor is a cantilevered space and has an outdoor terrace, a tequila bar and large sliding doors that transform the space into an indoor-outdoor environment with beautiful riverside views.

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The interior was furnished using a variety of new and reclaimed pieces. The exterior is adorned with colorful murals by street artists commissioned by the Wahaca restaurant chain. The interior is partially illuminated with sculptures designed to depict various words that also double as light fixtures.

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The bold colors used for each of the shipping containers are reminiscent of Mexican street views but also keep alive the industrial character of the building.