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A cafeteria in a shipping container 

Multai (MP), India. 2019

Project Team:  Vaibhavi Agrawal, Shital Chaudhari, Vasudha Dahale, Amar Agrawal

Taking inspiration from the trends of Cargotecture, shipping containers have been chosen as the key design element. The cafe’s space-making came about due to a grid-like composition of two, industrial-grade 8x40 feet high containers; a yellow container having been placed on a low plinth in the southwest corner of the plot, wrapped around a tranquil and welcoming courtyard, with the black container cantilevered above, deviating from the grid.


The cantilever is dynamically angled another way so that it soars 6 meters into the air, offering an aerial view of the soft-scape that lines the front of the plot and the outdoor seating space below.

During the day, the yellows stimulate hunger and during the night, the black cantilevered container disappears into the dark, allowing warm lights above to create an inviting space. The dining spaces have been clad with recycled packing wood and are dimly lit with warm lights to create a rustic and cosy space which is in striking contrast to the industrial look of the containers.


Close to 80% of the project uses recycled materials, the rest being natural materials with in-situ construction by local labourers and fabricators.

Discarded bricks were used for the paving and the plinth has been finished with natural kadappa stone tiles. Scrap metal was upcycled and used for the staircase that takes the users up to the container above and is also used for the tables that are placed outdoors.

The Cafe sees not only young patrons but patrons who come in from the nearby city. Its proximity to a nearby school and college campus means that it caters to the youth, offering them a slice of the city life. The Cafe functions as an integral part of the community fabric and offers something new, different and exciting for the public to enjoy.

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