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The humble shipping container home gets a luxurious upgrade

Designed by Brazilian architect Marilia Pellegrini, the 194-square-foot minimalist home was inspired by the famous Japanese designer Kenya Hara.

Shipping containers have been used to create emergency housing, dorms, breweries, and even a Taco Bell. But rarely do these adaptive reuse projects look so beautiful that they transcend their humble origins altogether.

[Photos: Ruy Teixeira/courtesy Marilia Pellegrini Arquitetura]The Brazilian architect Marilia Pellegrini has created a shipping container house composed of two containers next to each other, and it’s downright gorgeous. You’d never know that there’s corrugated steel underneath this 194-square-foot tiny home, with its serene white walls made of a quartz, porcelain, and glass composite.

Shipping containers are popular in housing and retail because they’re cheap to build and generally gentler on the environment than ground-up construction (they’ve also been criticized for perpetuating an overly utilitarian approach to housing). Pellegrini’s goal with the house, called Casa Container, was to show that shipping containers could be used for luxury living. She drew inspiration from the famous Japanese designer and Muji creative director Kenya Hara, who espouses a minimalist design approach based on “emptiness,” in which the user has freedom to decide how to use a space or object.

[Photo: Alexandre Disaro/courtesy Marilia Pellegrini Arquitetura]To that end, Casa Container has stripped-down amenities. One shipping container acts as the bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, while the other does double duty as a small kitchen and sitting area. Sliding doors along one side of the house enable it to open up completely to a patio that’s been planted with bamboo. Furniture designed by the prolific Japanese studio Nendo creates a clean, uncluttered aesthetic. The whole place looks immaculate—a stark contrast from the rugged shipping containers it’s built with.

Pellegrini built Casa Container in São Paulo for Casacor, an annual architecture show in the city.

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