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First airport installation of Arch Group's Sleepbox

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September 21, 2011

Arch Group's first Sleepbox unit at Sherematyevo Airport Moscow

Arch Group's first Sleepbox unit at Sherematyevo Airport Moscow

Image Gallery (20 images)

There are lot of "pod" hotel concepts around. It's one of those things that every young design/architectural practice likes to have a go at for its portfolio. The use-cases for these things are obvious, airports, train stations, exhibition halls, shopping malls, even temporary hostels or emergency shelter. Economic conditions notwithstanding it's a simple fact that we are traveling more and that the time spent waiting around in terminals is getting longer and more unpleasant. The promise of privacy and proper sleep is compelling. One architectural practice that has honed its pod concept into a refined, practical and importantly a patentable reality over a the years is Arch Group of Moscow. The high level of interest shown in the company's first working installation means that it looks like this tenacity will pay off.

We first covered the Sleepbox concept in March 2010, but last month Arch Group designers Alexay and Mikhail achieved their first working installation at Moscow's Sherematyevo airport. The single two-bunk-bed box is constructed in a rather fetching ash veneer over MDF and as can be seen from the images the construction is pretty solid with good seals on the door and windows suggesting at least the possibility of a quiet interior. Interior fittings are simple but of a high quality. Mass production of the units could be realized in metal or more likely GRP.

The box measures 2.5 m (98") x 1.6m (63") by 2.5 m (98") or 3 m (118") high and is available in one, two or three bunk configurations. The original concept called for an automated clean linen system much like the towel rollers in public toilets but for the moment normal slip covers are being used. The unit is provided with electricity for lights and laptop/phone charging though of course additional goodies could be incorporated such as touch screens, TV's, Wi-Fi, alarm, intercom, safe or even automated payment stations.

Reaction to the installation has apparently been extremely positive and a roll-out of multiple units in the airport is planned. Additionally a central Moscow hostel for student travelers is in the works for 2012.

Arch Group's Sleepbox concept in GRP

The Sleepbox concept has been skilfully developed into a serious and well designed product whose time may well have come. It's the sort of idea that once general acceptance is achieved, very rapid deployment will occur. There are of course questions about security and the uses to which some members of the public may put the units to but these need to be addressed on a location by location basis and sensible solutions should always be possible. There is no doubt that the Sleepbox concept fulfills a need of many modern social contexts and could have a significant impact. Should you feel an entrepreneurial urge to start your own "flash-hotel" units can be ordered now starting at €7,000 (approximately US$9,500 at the time of writing) with a two month lead time.

About the Author
Vincent Rice Vincent Rice has been an audio-visual design consultant for almost 30 years including six years with Warner Brothers Cinemas. He has designed several large retail installations in London and a dozen major nightclubs across the world from Belfast to Brno to Beruit. An accomplished musician and 3D computer graphics artist, Vince also writes for AV Magazine in the U.K. and the Loudscreen digital signage blog.   All articles by Vincent Rice
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9 Comments

Two words -- bed bugs.....

DemonDuck
22nd September, 2011 @ 04:43 am PDT

Bed bugs are a major issue, but easily dealt with. Bed bugs can not stand extremes of tempature. The hot cycle of your dryer for about 20 minutes, is enough to kill them off completely. Instead of motorized toilet paper, add a heat cycle, or a freeze cycle. problem solved.

kellory
22nd September, 2011 @ 01:53 pm PDT

Hmm, I can imagine a brisk business starting here.... "Honest, she's my girlfriend!"

Venril
22nd September, 2011 @ 02:45 pm PDT

>> There are of course questions about ... the uses to which some members of the public may put the units to

"of course"??? Really? Why do people perpetuate this meddling, nanny-state type mindset? What someone does behind a closed door should be no one's business but theirs! Can we please grow up???!!!

randyleepublic
22nd September, 2011 @ 07:34 pm PDT

I'm with Venril, this is going to be the quickie box or the brothel box, or maybe even the shoot up box.... it looks great and is a great concept but will need some nearby security especially with shared bathrooms etc....

svengali49
22nd September, 2011 @ 07:59 pm PDT

I'm sure the architect is thrilled to see his nice stairwell approach blocked (completely) by an ugly looking plywood box. Note the location of the first installation, too. In a US airport a fire marshal would have a field day with this box blocking a passage.

If the concept of sleeping INSIDE an airport as opposed to in a hotel that's ATTACHED to the airport was valid, why didn't they plan a few extra rooms specifically for the purpose? An airport is a transient place. You suppose to get in and out on your merry way as quickly as you can.

What a dumb idea this is!

Elabz.com
22nd September, 2011 @ 08:41 pm PDT

"If the concept of sleeping INSIDE an airport as opposed to in a hotel that's ATTACHED to the airport was valid, why didn't they plan a few extra rooms specifically for the purpose? An airport is a transient place. You suppose to get in and out on your merry way as quickly as you can.

What a dumb idea this is! " You obviously have never been snowed into an airport. or had a plane fall apart on the runway, or been delayed for four or five hours due to having to fly around a thunderstorm bigger than a state, and missed any hope of making your connection. You end up sitting along any wall space you can find, laying on your luggage, so you might wake up if some one is stealing from your luggage, and getting almost no sleep, no taxi, no reservation, and no answers from the airline as to when you can finally leave the airport. If they are affordable, and efficient, these things will have a waiting line in no time. Perhaps in flight reservations when a flight is delayed or rerouted.

kellory
22nd September, 2011 @ 10:12 pm PDT

As usual, the "potential" uses for such an innovation will overpower the "intended" uses, and the concept will not fly in North America, as logical as it is.

Laurence Hudson
23rd September, 2011 @ 10:01 am PDT

For that to work for me, it would need a much more effective "blackout" shade.

Also has anyone ever noticed that there are no longer lockers in Train stations, or airports? The reason as I understand it is that it is too easy for someone to leave a suspicious bag out of sight. So how is this any different? If they don't allow lockers how are they going to allow these?

Paul Anthony
4th October, 2011 @ 08:13 am PDT
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