Behind the Scenes

We Love SF: Proxy Shipping Container Project

Who knew shipping containers could look so chic? This 2-block project transforms the simple, steel shape of a shipping container into something truly worth visiting. Keep reading to learn more about one of our favorite design destinations in San Francisco: Proxy SF


Proxy SF is located in Hayes Valley, one of San Francisco’s more central neighborhoods. The 2-block collection of shops and restaurants is an impermanent architectural feature, designed to pull together a neighborhood that the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake tore apart.

Short term leases on the empty plots of land left after the earthquake inspired the architects at Envelope A+D. The team put together an eclectic collection of renovated shipping containers and food trucks, with inspired vendors who were excited about rejuvenating the neighborhood.

Proxy’s design allows the vendors to change with time, staying true to the short term leases. Right now, the 2 blocks combine several restaurants and shops:


Smitten, an ice cream shop that makes it delicious flavors with liquid nitrogen. Next door is Ritual, one of San Francisco’s best coffee shops. The Juice Shop (A Pottery Barn favorite!) and Casey’s Pizza park their trucks in one of the empty lots.


The Biergarten serves beer and German food out of a shipping container to patrons lounging in its sunny outdoor space.


Aether, a clothing store shown at the top of the article, stacks three different shipping containers on top of each other, in one of the site’s more permanent constructions.

Visit Proxy SF at 432 Octavia Street, San Francisco, California.

Photos by Roshan Vyas and Henry Zbyszynski

In London, a Mexican restaurant (Wahaca) is also made out of shipping containers. I thought it was so awesome! It’s nice to see the idea here in the states and what a great way to reuse the containers!

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