Spaces to work, rest and play


A Cornish start-up business that turns shipping containers into a variety of work, leisure and living spaces is celebrating a five-fold increase in turnover in just its second year of trading.

Truro-based ISO Spaces has seen sales leap as demand for its high-end shipping container conversions continues to grow.

Founded in 2013, ISO Spaces began life producing bespoke, one-off creations for the likes of Jeep, JD Wetherspoon and the BBC. Its pop-up products include bars, cafés, shops, classrooms and offices, and have been used across Europe by leading brands such as Kodak, Ted Baker and Caterpillar.

Now the business, which was last year named the best business start-up in Cornwall, is driving into volume markets including hotels and affordable housing, which could see demand for a high volume of units in the next 12 months.

ISO Spaces is also working on a chain of pop-up coffee shops which could yield further orders, and is working on the new Boxpark in Croydon, a pop-up shopping mall made from shipping containers.

The company was founded by former derivatives traders Ben Treleaven and Gregg Curtis, who have since been joined by a third director Andy Orr, who oversees the manufacturing side of the business.

Treleaven said: “It’s been amazing. We’ve gained so much experience in such a short time by working with our customers to create amazing spaces unique to them.

“Now we are being approached with some real volume orders and that’s exciting because it moves the business to a new level.”

ISO Spaces is currently designing a prototype hotel room which if successful could result in an order for many more. And it is pioneering a new approach to affordable housing, with the potential to build a number of sustainable flats for a metropolitan local authority.

In anticipation of more orders, the business is converting a 10,000 sq ft unit at St Blazey near St Austell into a bespoke container factory, with a further 5,000 sq ft of space outside.

Longer term, ISO Spaces plans to build its own 20,000 sq ft factory on the new Aerohub Business Park next to Newquay Cornwall Airport, where it envisages a production line that can meet anticipated growing demand for portable housing and other markets.

ISO Spaces has applied for Regional Growth Funding to help support its immediate ambitions and expects to create at least 20 jobs over the next five years, having more than doubled its staff from four to nine in 12 months.