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wahaca southbank experiment: shipping container restaurant
jul 11, 2012
wahaca southbank experiment: shipping container restaurant



wahaca mexican restaurant has just opened a shipping container pop-up location in london’s southbank, designed by softroom architects
all images ©
joseph burns

mexican restaurant chain wahaca has just opened its new pop-up location in london’s southbank with a building designed by london-based
architects softroom. composed of eight shipping containers and adorned with murals by international street artists, the restaurant functions
as an experimental kitchen with monthly food specials over the course of 18 months, after which the project will move to another location.
the most popular dishes at the southbank location will be added to wahaca’s standard menu in all its restaurants.

we developed the idea for using the shipping containers not only to remind visitors to the restaurant of the working history of this part
of the river, but also for more practical reasons as their limited height allowed us to be able to fit two floors in to the volume of a single
storey space,
‘ the architects of softroom explain. each container is painted in one of four bright colours.

the ‘wahaca southbank experiment’ seats 130 diners. one of its upper floor containers–complete with outdoor terrace– is cantilevered
to offer riverside views. large sliding glass doors turn the second storey into an indoor-outdoor environment.


ground level interior


at the lower-level countertop bar


upper level interior


side view of upper floor


interior lighting accent



front exterior, night view


the upper shipping container is cantilevered


night view


view from side of the building, looking towards the front


detail on ‘wahaca’ ground-level sign


full view of front exterior and pavilion


the building creates mixed indoor/outdoor spaces on both floors with sliding glass doors


closer view


full pavilion view


early concept sketch


finished render of the building


render, additional view

paris-born, madrid-based street artist remed and mexican street artist saner developed paintings inside the buildings and along the walls
flanking its lower floor, in a project curated by british artist and designer tristan manco. in what manco calls ‘a game of mix and match‘,
remed and saner each painted the faces of each others’ figures.


remed and saner work on the restaurant’s exterior murals
image courtesy tristan manco


remed’s modernist-style graphics contrast with saner’s mystical and folkloric figures
image courtesy tristan manco


located inside the shipping containers, ‘mi lupita’ by saner references the highly decorated trajinera boats of mexico city
image courtesy tristan manco

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