Australian shipping container provider, Royal Wolf, launches its new customer service centre which naturally, features a container design, by Room 11.

Located in Sunshine, Melbourne, the design brief for the project required the delivery of a full retail experience fronted by a functional new office space.

“When you think of a shipping container, you can immediately feel boxed in. We wanted to strip away this feeling and the idea that being inside a container had to be constrained, with tiny windows and a space only as wide as a single unit,” says Room 11’s director, Aaron Roberts.

In response, the design team cut away the ends of the whole containers, replacing them with face-fixed full height glazing and using the sheared ends to make insulated sandwich panels.

The 20 feet and 40 feet containers are linked by a series of internal courtyards planted to let natural light into the office spaces, which feature a purposefully sparse internal fit out. The metal skin of the containers was left raw to showcase the client’s products, with the exposed ceiling topped with rigid insulation and a membrane roof.

What results is an office that reads as a large rectangular container from the outside, but is seen as an open-format and homogenous space peppered with light and green areas from the inside. According to Roberts, this design was driven in part by the client’s desire for more connected workspaces, which generates greater social interactivity and innovation via the cross-fertilisation of ideas between different departments.

Photography by Ben Hosking. Source: Room 11

The 21,4000sqm site also incorporates workshops for refurbishing, re-spraying and custom buildings, and features one of the largest paint booths in the southern hemisphere.

“The office space itself is the perfect expression of the company’s motto, that ‘you can do anything in a Royal Wolf’,” says CEO of Royal Wolf, Robert Allan.

“Shipping containers today are being used to solve a wide range of business challenges – from accommodation quarters, mobile exhibition spaces, portable storage options, to retail outlets, training facilities and innovative construction projects. We are constantly amazed by the new ideas.”

This dynamic customer service centre is the only one of its kind in Australia, although shipping containers are increasingly being used for a variety of purposes, including a shipping container beach house, a student dorm, or a covered walkway for a hospital undergoing construction.