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When we think of shipping containers, the first thing that comes to mind is transporting goods and materials across the globe. This may be their primary focus, but many artists and designers are now taking an interest in these massive metal structures. With their durability and ubiquity, shipping containers make excellent canvasses for expression and creativity. Here, we’ll explore the world of shipping container artwork, delving into the mesmerising murals and awe-inspiring sculptures that have transformed ordinary containers into masterpieces.

A Growing Trend

In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in using shipping containers as a medium for artistic expression. This trend can be attributed to several factors, including the increasing availability of decommissioned containers and the global push for sustainable and eco-friendly design practices. Artists and designers are drawn to the unique properties of shipping containers, such as their durability, modular design, and the fact that they can be easily transported and repurposed.

Across the UK and around the world, shipping container artwork has taken various forms, from colourful murals adorning the exteriors of stacked containers to towering sculptures made from repurposed materials. These creative projects not only breathe new life into disused containers but also serve as a testament to the limitless potential of human imagination.

Shipping Container Murals: Painting Stories on Metal Canvases

One of the most striking forms of shipping container artwork is murals. These large-scale paintings transform the bland, industrial facades of containers into vibrant works of art, captivating passers-by and creating a sense of community in urban spaces.

Artists have embraced this medium wholeheartedly, using their talents to tell stories, raise awareness about social issues, or simply add a splash of colour to otherwise drab surroundings. Shipping container murals often incorporate elements of local culture, history, and nature, making them an integral part of the community they inhabit.

Container City, London

One notable example of shipping container murals in the UK is the Container City project in London’s Trinity Buoy Wharf. This innovative development comprises workspaces and residential units made from shipping containers that merge together to form a colourful, angular mural. Residents have accessorised the projects with sculptures, plants and other design ideas to give Container City a vibrant, memorable appeal.

Pop Brixton, London

Additionally, another range of stunning murals can be discovered in the UK at Pop Brixton. This vibrant London-based community hub is entirely built from repurposed shipping containers. The site hosts numerous local businesses, ranging from restaurants and bars to retail shops and creative workspaces. The exterior walls of the containers are adorned with colourful murals by various artists. A diverse range of styles, and tones are showcased.

Some of the murals at Pop Brixton include representations of local landmarks, geometric patterns, and thought-provoking messages about social issues. These artworks add visual interest to the site and foster a sense of pride and belonging among the local community.

Shipping container mural in POP Brixton in London

Pop Brixton, Image Credit: London Calling Blog

Shipping Container Sculptures: Crafting Beauty from Industrial Materials

In addition to this, shipping container sculptures have also emerged as a popular form of artistic expression in the UK and across the globe. These installations harness the unique characteristics of containers – their strength, modularity, and adaptability – to create visually stunning and thought-provoking works of art.

Some shipping container sculptures are standalone pieces, and others form part of larger installations or public art projects. The versatility of shipping containers allows artists to experiment with various forms, textures, and materials. The result is an eclectic mix of styles and themes.

Sleeping Figure, USA

A great example of shipping container sculpting is Matt Johnson’s “Sleeping Figure.” It’s a unique cubist interpretation of a classical odalisque. The use of shipping containers symbolises the challenges and complexities of modern trade systems.

Situated along a key route between the Port of Los Angeles and the inland United States, “Sleeping Figure” holds relevance as distribution centres develop throughout the area. The sculpture serves as a reminder of the interconnected nature of our world and the impact of innovative art on our perception of everyday objects.

A shipping container near Los Angeles

Sleeping Figure, Image Source: Los Angeles Times

Fremantle Rainbow, Australia

In 2016, Marcus Canning’s ‘Rainbow’ was placed at Beach Reserve between the bridges, offering a stunning view of Fremantle port. This extraordinary public art piece stands 9 metres tall, spans 19 metres in length, and weighs a massive 66 tonnes. The renowned Perth artist designed the sculpture using nine recycled sea containers to create an arch.

Now, ‘Rainbow’ warmly greets visitors arriving in Fremantle by train, car, or boat, showcasing the Swan River and container port. The artwork is inspired by the universal symbol of hope and Fremantle’s exceptional artistic and maritime legacy.

Rainbow shipping container in Fremantle Australia

Fremantle ‘Rainbow’, Image Source: Visit Fremantle

Sustainable Art Using Philspace Shipping Containers

Join the growing trend of using shipping containers as a medium for artistic expression in the UK and beyond. By repurposing decommissioned containers, you can contribute to sustainable and eco-friendly design practices and create stunning murals and sculptures.

Ready to start your shipping container art project? Reach out to our team today! Alternatively, take a look at our used sale items. They’re the perfect containers to transform into your unique work of art. Don’t hesitate – contact us now and explore the boundless possibilities of your creativity!

Philspace call to action image displaying branded shipping containerFurther Reading