The Ikea of Architecture? The ‘Shipping Container Garden’ in Palm Springs
Architectural practices around the world have leapt into shipping container design as a modern, fashionable and apparently sustainable way of building a range of things we use in our lives. Where the US architecture firm Architectural Blue differs is that they are building a 1.3 acre site that physically showcases some of the ways that this flexible system can be used – an architectural outdoor showroom.
The Ikea of architecture?
Unlike many businesses, one tends to have to travel to see first-hand what an architect has done before. While pictures, such as those we show at the Gateway Gazette can give you a flavour of what the design is about, you often have to be in the physical presence of an architectural work in order to fully understand it. Pictures cannot convey everything.
Where Architectural Blue have departed from the norm is that they have built their new offices at the centre of a showcase of their work. This isn’t unlike the vast shopping spaces created by the Swedish interior furnishings company Ikea – it is all very well seeing a funky wooden chair on an online picture, but how does it feel when you sit in it? Adding to that Ikea also has demonstration spaces in its stores so you can see and feel for yourself how suggested units might work together as part of a coherent interior design.
One of the draws to Ikea is that it offers a café serving often quite unusual food at an accessible price. This makes the home furnishing giant’s stores a place for people to hang out. The Garden has this too – a café called Quench where people can get a good cup of coffee and even a light lunch as part of their visit.
Image source: Architectural Blue
According to the Palm Springs lifestyle magazine, Palm Springs Life, the “garden will feature elements that touch on all aspects of a homeowner’s property. There will be outdoor showcases where customers can see, feel, and touch materials associated with swimming pools, as well as areas that will change often and have different design ideas.”
“[There will also be] outdoor furniture, pots, drought-tolerant plants and a potting area where you can pot your own plant, along with organic mulch, water features, etc.,” says Naylor. “The Learning area will have weekly events ranging from gardening, outdoor living, cooking demonstrations using herbs from your garden, [and classes and lectures on the] environment, pool chemistry, outdoor sound, landscape lighting, and many more topics,” said CEO of Architectural Blue, J Matthew Naylor, to Palm Springs Life.
The offices of the company themselves will take up 3,200 square feet of the site, leaving a huge space for people to come, see and feel what the concepts raised by the company are about.
There will also be an artist’s area on site where local artisans can show off and sell their works. This will add freshness to the site and attract people time and again as repeat custom.
Shipping containers figure heavily in this concept. They will be used for many of the buildings (even the offices) and as part of the outdoor buildings that people will see and experience with a view to them going to buy a shipping container construction design from Architectural Blue.
Will it catch on?
Not all architects have a big enough turnover to set up design parks for potential visitors to experience! Most are quite tiny by comparison. If this Palm Springs firm can bring about economies of scale with their concept – as Ikea has done to interior design – it could catch on for the chattering classes to have their own piece of (somewhat) individual outdoor design in the way they do when they furnish their homes with Ikea furnishings. For now, it could well be a landmark for those visiting the city from around the world as they might to the city’s world-famous beaches.
Gateway shipping containers for sale
If you’re thinking of taking the leap into building a new container construction, get in touch with Gateway Container Sales today! We can modify containers onsite or put you in touch with our network of designers, builders and architects. Get a free quote.