Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Airport 'Sleepbox' Debuts in Moscow

CNNGO: We figured tourist lodgings in expensive cities couldn't get more "basic" than capsule hotels.

We figured wrong.

A Moscow company is now marketing "Sleepboxes" -- freestanding, mobile boxes with beds inside -- for travelers stranded overnight, or those in need of a quick snooze. The Sleepboxes are meant to be installed in airports -- even at departure lounges -- and rented for 30 minutes to several hours at a time.

A Sleepbox is currently installed at the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow.

"We travel a lot and many times we faced a problem of rest and privacy in airports," says co-designer Mikhail Krymov of design firm Arch Group, who together with Alexei Goryainov came up with the idea of Sleepbox. "And as we are architects, we like to think of solutions."

Measuring 1.4 meters wide, two meters in length and 2.3 meters in height, Sleepbox’s star feature is a two-meter-long bed made of polymer foam and pulp tissue that changes bed linen automatically.

It also comes with luggage space, a ventilation system, WiFi, electric sockets and an LCD TV.

The model unveiled in Moscow is a "hostel" version of the Sleepbox, which includes an additional bunk bed and fold-up desk.

"Imagine the situation that you are in the modern metropolis, where you are not a local resident, and you have not booked a hotel," the designers say on their website. "Thanks to Sleepbox, any person has an opportunity to spend the night safely and cheaply in case of emergency, or when you have to spend few hours with your baggage."

The designers say that the box can be placed at railroad stations, expo centers and even on the streets of countries with warm climates.

"We hope that Sleepboxes will be available all over the world," says Krymov. "Today we are offering Sleepboxes to different companies in Europe, Asia, Africa and the U.S.A. Generally the price of one box starts from US$10,000.

"The idea is to to sell Sleepboxes to local companies, who will be local operators of the business."

We'd like to see them in offices for fatigued workers, as well as shopping malls for tired boyfriends and husbands.

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