Inspired by Japanese paper-folding, Canary Wharf booths make a sculptural statement whether open or shut.Make Architects’ folding kiosks for Canary Wharf in London bring new meaning to the term “pop-up shop.” The bellows-like structures were inspired by Japanese paper folding. “[The kiosk] had to be solid, but lightweight, so then that led us to origami,” said Make lead project architect Sean Affleck. “[You] end up with something very flimsy; add a few folds and creases, and suddenly the strength appears. In the folds, the shape appears.” In addition to adding strength, the folds accomplish an important element of the kiosk program. The public officials who commissioned the design wanted the booths to be aesthetically pleasing whether open or shut. “What we didn’t want was to create a box that obviously had a shutter or door,” said Affleck. “We wanted to disguise the door—you weren’t quite sure which part of it was going to open.” When closed, the booths appear as futuristic sculptures, their matte grey exteriors evoking the steel and stone of the city. During operation, the upper folds compress to reveal a simple, customizable interior accented with reddish-orange strips of metal. Make modeled the design in 3ds Max and MicroStation, then unwrapped the facade to a flat piece of paper to build a physical model. “What we found was it was very easy to be seduced by the computer, very easy for the computer to be too clever, to start twisting or distorting the surfaces,” said Affleck. “It was only when we were making [physical] models that we suddenly realized something was jamming, and that was really interesting.” Later, the designers built a full-scale mock-up out of cardboard and foam board. “That way we could really understand how it works,” explained Affleck. “It was also very helpful for the client: here it is, touch it.” The kiosks were tested and prefabricated at Entech Environmental Technology before being trucked to the site. The opening section of each kiosk is made of 2-millimeter-thick aluminum plate, while the rest of the body is a stainless steel derivative developed in-house. The key to the fabrication process, explained Affleck, was folding, pressing, and rolling the metal to form an integral hinge at either side, into which a stainless steel rod was inserted. Though the kiosk door is light enough to open and close manually, the designers installed a remote-control electric winch to avoid undue stress on the structure. Make’s kiosks made their debut at the Ice Sculpting Festival at Canary Wharf in January. At future events, the kiosks will take on a variety of uses, from coffee points to a DJ booth. “The idea is it’s flexible,” said Affleck. “It’s a space you can use in a variety of ways.”
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The South Street Seaport's Pier 17 won't be around much longer in its current form as it awaits a $200 million overhaul by SHoP Architects, but this summer, the neighborhood surrounding it has some exciting plans in store that bring the hottest trends in temporary urbanism to the waterfront site. Starting on Memorial Day Weekend, the See/Change program will bring film screenings, a SmorgasBar, and pop-up shipping container boutiques in hopes of enticing New Yorkers back to this once-trendy Lower Manhattan neighborhood. The centerpiece will be a stage at Fulton and Water streets. A blanket of grass will cover the cobblestone street and wood-and-canvas beach chairs will be positioned to create an improvised theater for weekly concerts and film series called Front Row Cinema. South of the stage, restored shipping containers will be configured as an asymmetrical, two-story structure for small retail shops. The second level will host SmorgasBar, a subsidiary of the well-known SmorgasBurg, which will turn east on Front Street to Beekman Street where Brooklyn-based food vendors will lure visitors with maple bacon sticks and oysters, among other treats. Plans are also in the works for Cannon’s Walk at 207A Front Street. The calm courtyard, which has been a place to relax and evade tourist hustle and bustle, has been handed over to Brightest Young Things, an experiential marketing agency. The New York Times reports Svetlana Legetic of the company says the space will be converted into a “surprise jewel box space where anything could happen.” Moreover, plans have changed for Pier 17. Previously scheduled to close for renovations, the mall will remain open to assist merchants who lost the holiday season to Hurricane Sandy damage. The seaport has long represented a hub of chain stores, but most ground floor shops remain shuttered to conceal overhauls still taking place. See/Change is an opportunity to bring new life and commerce to the neighborhood.
There's a new couture addition to PROXY, the temporary shipping container village in San Francisco's Hayes Valley, designed by architects Envelope A+D. Adding to PROXY's cool coffee shop, ice cream parlor, and Biergarten is a new store for clothing company Aether, made up of three forty foot shipping containers stacked atop one another, supported by steel columns. The guts of the first two containers have been carved out, making a double story retail space, with a glass mezzanine above jutting to the side, providing display space and views. A third container for inventory storage is accessible via a custom-designed drycleaners' conveyor belt spanning all three floors. Workers can literally load garments from the ground floor and send them up to the top. PROXY, which has been a huge success, is planning more. The next installation: PROXY_storefront, a series of 9 storefront spaces carved into six shipping containers, to be located around the corner from Aether. Indeed shipping containers are moving beyond residential, taking off in the retail realm. You can visit the new Aether store in person Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00am to 7:00pm or Sunday from 11:00 to 6:00.
Boxman Studios, the company that pioneered the shipping-containers-turned-housing trend back in 2008, is now embarking on a whole new shipping container revolution. As part of their sustainable building efforts they are adapting decommissioned containers to enhance already complete buildings and even stand alone as pop-up shops, venues, restaurants, transit stations and more. It was with the real estate crash of 2008 that Boxman founder, David Campbell, re-imagined the use of decommissioned shipping containers. The idea soon caught on and customized shipping containers are now seen as a major player in tactical urbanism and sustainable practices in cities across the globe. Boxman Studios has specialized in adapting shipping containers for an array of uses including events and trade shows, which are ideal for shipping container re-use as they are temporal locations. Shipping containers can be easily situated, outfitted and removed, and used again. To oversee Boxman Studio's jump from private housing to urban infrastructure they partnered with sales director Jim Curtis. The company’s growth coincides with their move into a 65,000 square foot space in Charlotte, North Carolina. Their new facility allows them to contain all aspects of these sizable operations in one space. “We can easily scale as needed,” said Campbell. “Launching into container architecture of the Built Environment was a logical step for our company.” They have since built pop-up venues and permanent additions for clients such as Nike, Google and Whole Foods.