If you've passed through Times Square recently, you likely noticed several changes. As part of the Times Square Alliance's effort to redevelop the zone, the SnackBox, a new food stand by Montreal-based Aedifica, was selected from 80 other proposals by local restaurants to bring innovative food concessions to Broadway. Created in collaboration with MuvBox for restauranteur Jonathan Morr, the mobile recycled shipping container food stand is powered entirely by solar panels, providing the ultimate sustainable on-the-go food option.
The 20-foot long black and white box in Times Square is the first of its kind in the U.S. Thanks to the design direction of Aedifica, it stands out amidst the overwhelming visual stimulation provided by the neon lights and billboards in the surrounding zone. Inspired by old-fashioned canteens, the first MuvBox appeared in the Old Port of Montreal. The most recent addition to Times Square introduces a similar concept offering New York delicacies from noted local restaurants and vendors, like Doughnut Plant doughnuts, pretzels from Sigmund Pretzelshop, bagels from Vic’s Bagel Bar, Sarabeth’s muffins, and gelato from Il Laboratorio, all served with a gourmet flair.
MuvBox is the brainchild of Daniel Noiseux who was driven by his interest in fusing quality food and sustainable design. He drew inspiration from the much acclaimed Push Button House installation at the 2006 Venice Biennial. The unit is self-sustaining with four monocrystalline solar panels that produce 680 watts, eight deep discharge GEL technology batteries that can produce 960 amperes per hour, and LED interior lights. It includes a fresh and greywater system which is emptied daily, and the floor is made from recycled tires. The deployment of the side panels to open and close the box is powered by solar panels and takes about 90 seconds. Additionally, solar panels, batteries, and other features such as exterior lighting and a sound system can be added at an additional cost. The basic unit retails at $150,000.
As the unit itself is not permanently on the ground, operators can bypass the often painful process of obtaining a building permit, and it is easily transported by road, rail, or sea. The MuvBox is also highly versatile, serving as the base for restaurants, pop-up stores, art galleries, and anything else you could imagine. The touch of a button electronically opens and closes the box making for a secure place to store things when not in service and tables can easily be set up to offer customers a place to rest. SnackBox includes a limited seating area where visitors can appreciate the epicenter of a city characterized by its street food, bustling environment and innovative design.
All images © Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat