This new Starbucks in Taiwan is taking innovative recycling to a whole new level. Part of the coffee giant’s commitment to sustainable building, its first store in the Asia Pacific will consist of 29 white shipping containers, stacked in a grid-like formation. Designed by architect Kengo Kuma, the containers will house 3,444 square feet of space with a unique aesthetic designed for maximum comfort. According to a Starbucks press release, “From one end of the container, customers can enjoy views of this beautiful mountain range. The other end is decorated with graphics that tell coffee stories.”
While the Starbucks’ design might appear cold and claustrophobic from the outside, a series of skylights actually allows an abundance of natural light, lending a cozy, homey atmosphere to the space. The placement of the containers might seem somewhat random, but it was actually inspired by the Chinese bucket arch and the leaves and branches of a coffee tree. The bucket arch uses stacked beams, and the coffee tree evokes the natural order of organic foliage.
While it might be the first store built entirely of shipping containers, Starbucks has over 40 locations worldwide that utilize the shipping container as a primary building block. Shipping containers have become a relatively common architectural trend, normally used to promote the reduction and reuse of industrial waste and materials. Storage container properties can also often occupy sites that traditional buildings can’t, making them a more versatile and convenient material.
Fans of Kengo Kuma will be delighted to learn that in addition to designing this building, he’s also behind the highly anticipated Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Tokyo coming later this year.