Boxes

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. As the retail sector has faced up to various challenges over the past decade, it is also the area of real estate where we have seen the most and the earliest innovations and operator responses. However, many of these innovations are now shipping over to other sectors. Launched in 2010, Boxpark was one of the early innovators in retail unit design, turning shipping containers into cheap, sustainable, modular and bijou pop-up units. Building on this success, the operator have announced that they are to open two new formats. The first, not falling too far from the existing offer, is BoxHall (a foodhall concept). The second, however, is more radical and provides evidence of this innovation crossover. BoxOffice is a truly mixed-use concept of up to 150,000 sq ft arranged over 5-6 floors. The ground floor will be the traditional Boxpark streetfood offer. On the first floor will be leisure operators such as crazy-golf, cinemas and karaoke. And on an upper 2-4 floors will be coworking space. Assuming that this follows the existing containerised design, how high could they go? Actually, pretty high. A standard cargo ship typically supports 12-high stacks of loaded containers, with typical loads of 30 tons per container transferring down to the bottom one through the corner posts. As the world starts to operate on a finer and more modular grain, it makes you wonder what couldn’t be built with containers?