Chilean architects find green inspiration in unlikely source

Chilean furniture company’s innovative new showrooms are created out of repurposed shipping containers.

Chilean furniture design company Muebles Gacitúa has incorporated green innovation directly into their company by designing their main showroom from recycled cargo shipping containers.

Located in Santiago’s always busy Santa Rosa neighborhood in the San Miguel district of the capital, Muebles Gacitúa’s showroom is unmistakable. The innovative Chilean architecture firm DX Arquitectos has repurposed the giant metal containers, skillfully redesigning them into a functional and creative space.

The containers were outfitted with recycled aluminum windows, rubber floors, wood panelling and insulation, and sliding glass doors. The sunwashed rust red color reminds visitors of the previous lives of these containers, where they shipped goods from one end of the globe to the other. Today they remain anchored in one place, providing housing for Muebles Gacitúa’s display of various products and designs.

The recycled structure is complemented by luscious green terraces and spacious patios running between the structures. The green space and green architecture provide an innovative way to showcase tables, chairs, and other furniture.

The use of recycled cargo shipping containers as material for modern architecture has been gaining popularity in recent years. The so-called “cargotecture” style can be found in the design of creative homes, galleries, stores, and even boutique hotels.

Another example of innovative cargotecture in Chile is the Liray House. In 2010, architect Rubén Rivera Peede, with innovative architecture firm Proyecto ARQtainer, created this family home in Chile out of five repurposed cargo containers. The home, designed to be earthquake-resistant and cost effective, came complete with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room, and kitchen. The original container doors were even reworked into a comfortable balcony.

Environmentalism is growing in Chile, and with new projects like these, recycling and green thinking gains an ever greater audience. In Santiago, many organizations are working to spark passion for the environment through the country’s youth. Planeta Canelo, located in the San Bernardo district of Santiago, is one example. The environmental center hosts over 2,000 Chilean students a year, offering an educational program aimed at encouraging youngsters to think about the environment.