Simon Astridge medges shipping containers to design backyard London office



British architect Simon Astridge used shipping containers, exposed plasters and clay lighting to create offices and showrooms for a London tile maker.

Astridge designed the Porcelain Gallery for Pentagon Tiles in a conservation area within Hatton Garden in the Camden of London.

As part of the brief, Astridge was tasked with creating offices in the backyard of the showroom, and therefore chose to use shipping containers as a reference to the industrial history of its location.


Three of the containers are joined together to form an open space on the ground floor, while the fourth is placed on top with an angle to offer views of a neighboring tree.

The project is continuing to reuse old shipping containers, which have been re-used for everything from pop-up cinema to swimming pools and hot tubs.


Astridge chose to paint the exterior of the red and yellow units to complement the shades of neighboring buildings listed. The sliding glass panels are recessed behind the original container doors to bring plenty of light into space.

A large window also replaces one of the walls of the lower containers. A Corten steel staircase leads parallel to the upper level, where corresponding steel ramps are in front of the roof terrace.


The desks are finished simply inside with light plaster walls and clay lamp posts, staggered by a verdant green shelf and greenery.

For the showroom, the architects wanted to create a space that pitted the Pentagon against its competitors, using clay for the entrance buzzer and the stair ramp.






"I want my clients to walk in a space and not be able to keep their hands in their pockets," Astridge said.

"I want them to touch the different hues, textures and colors of the mosaic products," he continued. "I want them to put their fingers on the walls and the floor."


Inside, the main feature is the ceiling, covered with a light pink textured plaster and covered with a wooden structure that frames around the clay pots.

Built-in metal shelves extend along a wall, housing corporate products and a large glass and wood cabinet in the center.


Large gray tiles cover the floors and line one of the walls, while another remains with an exposed plaster.

The porcelain gallery is one of many projects by Astridge, based in Tufnell Park, north London.

Other projects include a dusty-pink concrete extension to the North London house, bordering the walls of a Japanese-style London apartment with rustic clay, using textured surfaces for a "wine cave" Under a south London kitchen showroom and a leather dressing room in a renovated residence.