It’s no wonder the stevedores in season two of The Wire were struggling to find work – the problem wasn’t Baltimore’s canal dredging project after all, but simply that these days there aren’t many shipping containers left in existence that are actually still being used for shipping. And the finger of blame is pointing firmly at the architecture and design industries.
In this case the wonderfully guilty party is Belgian firm Five AM and its superb office project for two conjoined businesses, a printer and a mailing company, in Kortrijk. While previous shipping container re-purposing we’ve featured has revelled in the rough industrial aesthetic of the boxes, Five AM has gone the other way, knocking out the dents, painting and polishing the units to produce a look that befits a professional work environment. The containers form an integral part of the office structure, and link the admin side of the operation with the shop-floor machinery. Boxing clever.