Box Office

Multidisciplinary design studio A Work of Substance goes for less waste, more impact with a showroom made out of repurposed shipping containers

Words Patrick Kasingsing
Images Dennis Lo

Shipping container upcycling is hardly new; a cursory search online will reveal the myriad permutations designers have embarked in the quest to reduce, reuse and recycle this ubiquitous industrial commodity (with varying degrees of success).

What makes Goodman Westlink’s shipping container showroom different from the rest is that it was meant to be ephemeral from the start; the 30-man team behind Hong Kong-based studio A Work of Substance designed the facility to be easily constructible and to not leave a trace once disassembled. It is, in respect, the anti-showroom in that it goes against the excesses and wasted space that often characterize this spatial typology, while still serving its function to showcase the brand’s real estate expertise. It is doing more with less resources. “The containers are multifaceted and celebrates sustainable architecture,” the folks at Substance, headed by itinerant Frenchman Maxime Daustresme, explains.

Nestled in a tropical nest in far-flung Tuen Mun, Hong Kong, the showroom was created out of four shipping container blocks arranged in an inverted T, which allows for potential expansion in the second floor should the office requires it.

Except for its size, the interiors give almost no indication of the structural components’ past life as a shipping container.

The showroom packs six different spaces; except for its size, the interiors give almost no indication of the structural components’ past life as a shipping container. Lined with warm timber panels and copious glazing to make the best of the verdant views all around, the suite exudes warmth and an openness that is surprising for a showroom, enhanced with the inclusion of furniture pieces with midcentury modern silhouettes.

A Work of Substance prides itself in utilizing design to rejuvenate old and unused spaces, drawing out sustainable, contemporary programs to prolong its lifespan; take the studio’s eye-catching interior and branding work for The Fleming at Wan Chai. With the Goodman Westlink marketing suite, the practice takes their tried-and tested recipe up a notch, crafting a new spatial program for the shipping container, reducing the showroom’s impact on the environment, without sacrificing style and substance. •


Designer A Work Of Substance
Area 192 square meters
Location Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
Completion Date 2019
Scope of Work Architecture, Interior, Products

All Substance, no filler at

Originally published in Kanto No. 1, 2020. Edits were made to update the article.

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