Shipping Container Structure Trends for 2020


As we sit on the cusp of 2020, it’s interesting to look back over the last decade and see how the container building industry has evolved. This time last year we reflected on what we thought some of the biggest shipping container business ideas would be for 2019. As we approach the new decade, what trends will be making waves in our industry and how will Boxman help lead the way?

Sales and leasing experiences – Today’s single-family home and multifamily communities offer unique features and benefits to residents and amenity-rich experiences. It’s a feeling that’s hard to capture in the clunky, modular leasing office that is usually a fixture at the front of the property. Recently we’ve seen real estate developers moving away from a simple office to more creative and immersive sales and leasing centers. How can these spaces truly tell the story of the development that is to come? From augmented reality to two-story decks with views, the possibilities are endless, and we think it’s only going to get more dynamic.

We’re (still) open! – With more and more choices in the fast food and fast casual markets, restaurant owners know they risk losing their loyal customer base when spaces close for renovations. We saw this big business idea take root this year, and in 2020, we expect to see more restaurants create semi-permanent spaces to keep operations active while their brick-and-mortar spaces are being updated. Portable and adaptable, these structures are easy to transport from city to city and state to state, providing corporate and franchisee owners with a smart business solution. Though often with a smaller footprint and sometimes slight variations in menu, these temporary buildings capture the essence of the restaurant’s brand while keeping key staff employed, profits flowing and customers loyal while the permanent space is under construction.

shipping container modular construction

Repurpose with purpose – Boxman Studios built our business on experiential marketing executions. We’re known for working with companies and marketing agencies to bring their brands to life, so much so that we wrote an exhaustive guide to experiential marketing. In 2020, we expect to see brands move beyond flash-in-the-pan executions to take a repurposed approach that aligns with sustainability trends: find ways to modify existing container spaces to create new experiences. Imagine: A two-story structure with full-window views designed for a racetrack experience can be transformed into a traveling innovation center for a corporate communications program; or, an event-based pop-up store is modified into a business learning center for youth education. We often talk about purpose-built construction, and we think “re-purposed” will be a trend in 2020.

Time and space for play – Parks and playgrounds have come a long way in the last two decades, with inclusive design paramount and considerations for intentional interactive learning while also being safe and imaginative spaces. As landscape architects became more involved in playground design, we’ve seen increasingly creative approaches to the look, feel and sustainability factors of these spaces. Post-consumer products such as tires and milk boxes are being reused and recycled for playground parts and equipment, and in 2020 we expect to see more designs incorporating shipping container structures as pavilions and gathering spaces, like Mississippi River Park in Memphis The practice of using shipping containers for building products began as a sustainability initiative to repurpose de-commissioned containers after their life as a shipping component was complete. What better way to carry on their journey than as a reimagined space that becomes the platform for learning-through-play for the next generation?