17 containers for a concept store

Last month, the buzz in the design/architecture blogosphere was echoing the opening of the new “Freitag Individual Recycled Freeway Shop”, a 26 meter high concept store in Zurich. The store is built with 17 rusty, recycled freight containers. On the top is a telescope to do some truckspotting and a panorama plate (designed by Yves Netzhammer) which illustrates what is on view.


So far the reactions of passersby in Zurich have ranged from irritation to curiosity: “Does it really last?” “I want to go up there!” “No, I am acrophobic!”

I couldn’t find enough information online to satisfy my curiosity so i asked a few questions about the container structure to Daniel Freitag who created the recycled bags empire together with his brother Markus (photo).

Who and how did you get this idea of using containers?

Freitag bags are made of used truck tarps, bicycle innertubes and car seatbeltss. Hamburg is one of the biggest logistic Mecca of Europe – the perfect location for a FREITAG flagship shop. Inspired by the trucks and the harbour, we placed a 40″ Container (artificial) into our shop-location. For the shop concept in Zurich we took it one (or even two) steps further: an entire building assembled from 17 used freight containers.


The idea of the tower is inspred by the history of Freitag. Freitag was born in the student-flat of my brother Markus. He used to live next to the same freeway where the Freitag shop is located. The view out of his kitchen-window onto 24h Truck-traffic inspired us to produce bags from used tarps.
See drawing below, left.

Isn’t it dangerous to move inside the containers? How do you go from one level to the other? How do you bring light inside the containers?

There is a staircase to climb to the shop levels and to the tower. The construction respects the Swiss norms, it’s therefore very safe! There are four big windows and a glass-entry, so it is not dark at all. The building is isolated by Foamglas (made from recycled glass) to ensure that temperatures are comfortable both in the Winter and in the Summer.

Is it a permanent installation? Do you plan to install similar constructions elsewhere in the world?

The shop is planed to stay for 5 up to 10 years – it was a great challenge, but also great fun to realise this project. It is to early to say if we will open similar shops elsewhere in the world. But I would not say “no”…

Thanks Daniel!

A few other names should be mentionned: Spillmann.echsle architekten eth, Zurich and the realisation team from Raumbau, Zurich.

Images courtesy of Daniel Freitag. Plenty more in Freitag’s photo sets.