Images credit Arch Group/Ivanov Ilya.
When I first wrote about the Sleepbox two years ago, I was dubious that it would ever see the light of day, noting "It is an interesting exercise in seeing how small a space one can comfortably live in, but one suspects that the opportunity for, um, misuse might keep this idea of the 15 minute hotel room from going mainstream."
But it has, with a working prototype set up in Moscow.
Designed by the Arch Group, about the only change from the original proposal is that it is made of wood instead of plastic (common for prototypes, and the minimum time has increased from 15 minutes to half an hour.
They appear to have given up on one my favourite features of the original concept, the automatic bed-changing system:
[bed] is equipped with automatic system of change of bed linen. Bed is soft, flexible strip of foamed polymer with the surface of the pulp tissue. Tape is rewound from one shaft to another, changing the bed.
Instead they have gone for conventional linen. I thought they were on to something there.
The architects write:
Imagine the situation where you are in a modern city, you are not a local resident, and you have not booked a hotel. It is not a comfortable situation because modern aggressive cities give you no opportunity to rest and relax. If you want to sleep while waiting for your plane or train, you face many security and hygiene problems.
We believe that urban infrastructure should be more comfortable. For this purpose we have developed Sleepbox. It provides moments of quiet sleep and rest without wasting time in search for a hotel.
In mid-August 2011, the first Sleepbox was installed at the Aeroexpress terminal of Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, Russia. It represents the base version made of MDF with a natural ash-tree veneer. This Sleepbox attracted such a great deal of interest from passengers and big companies that chances are first commercially operated boxes will be installed at airports and in the city by the end of this year.