In the Market for Container Culture

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Brooklyn is New York’s bohemian borough, home to all things artisanal, organic, hipster, avant-garde and bespoke.

So it comes as little surprise that Brooklyn’s bustling DeKalb Avenue was chosen as the site for New York’s first outdoor shipping container market, DeKalb Market.

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Made from 22 converted shipping containers, the vibrant container marketplace was an instant hit with the local community when it opened in 2011.

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Local eateries and retail stores rushed to establish pop up outposts at the market, offering a range of handcrafted, locally-made wares and edible treats.

The market’s makeshift shipping container coffee shop became a favourite destination for local caffeine fiends, almost overnight.

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The bazaar’s upcycling theme extended beyond the use of refurbished shipping containers, with an onsite incubator farm capturing the imaginations of visitors.

And to keep the atmosphere buzzing, onsite Internet radio station, BBox supplied the soundtrack, day and night.DekalbMarket_002

Whereas similar pop up projects, as far afield as London and New Zealand’s Christchurch, have elaborately repurposed their shipping container building blocks (to the point where they become almost unrecognisable), the Brooklyn container enclave kept modifications to a minimum.

The original logos and business names are still intact on the external container walls, giving the project a uniquely raw, temporary and industrial aesthetic.

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Conceived by community developer Urban Space, the DeKalb Market project was a noble attempt to activate a city space without imposing a solution on the area, but rather growing it organically.