Sleepbox ‘sleeping pod’ debuts at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport

Inspired by Japan’s ‘capsule hotels’, which have been around since the 1970s, several airports in Europe (Yotel), the USA (Minute Suites) and Asia (e.g, Tokyo Narita) have opened small-sized resting rooms in areas post-security (air-side), that can be rented for several hours by passengers with long transit times or delayed flights.

Russian architecture bureau Arch Group has come up with a new twist on the ‘transit room’ concept, called the Sleepbox. Shaped like a giant, rounded box measuring 2 meters long, 1.4 metres wide and 2.3 metres high, the ‘pod’ can be positioned near boarding gates, so passengers can rent them for periods as short as 30 minutes. Designers of the Sleepbox, Mikhail Krymov and Alexei Goryainov, say the box allows passengers to stay near the gates, cutting down on hotel transit times even more. According to Krymov, the inspiration for the box came from their personal frequent flying experiences. “We travel a lot and many times we faced a problem of rest and privacy in airports. And as we are architects, we like to think of solutions.”

A prototype of the Sleepbox is currently being exhibited for demonstration purposes at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. As Arch Group’s Krymov tells “Currently one Sleepbox is on display at Sheremetyevo with a second one being added soon. Sleepbox plans to be open for the public at the airport in 3 to 4 months, when there will be aproximately 5 of them installed. The expected fee will be USD10 to 15 per hour. There will be a concierge available, who will take payments, give keys, etcetera, but in the near future passengers the Sleepboxes will be self-service, with users paying by credit card.”

The model on display (video and images here and here) is a simple design with two bunk-style two-meter-long beds, space for luggage, a window, a fold-out desk, a night stand with drawers and minimal electronic capabilities such as electrical outlets and lighting. The designers, however, say that they are planning to build Sleepboxes with WiFi, LCD screens and displays with flight information.

The price of a Sleepbox starts at USD9,700, and Arch Group says that, besides at airports, the Sleepbox can be placed at railroad stations, expo centers and even on the streets of countries with warm climates. In 2012, the first hostel fully furnished with Sleepboxes will open in Moscow, and the firm is in negotiations with several clients from differents parts of the world.

Sams Snooze at my Space
The Arch Group began the ‘Sleepbox’ project by putting computer generated designs of the concept on the Internet, which generated a large amount of publicity worldwide. However, the Sleepbox design also inspired some to copy the concept. For example, at the end of 2010, ‘Sams Snooze at my Space’ opened in the new Terminal 3 of New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. The design of the cabins is remarkably similar to that of the Sleepbox, and Mikhail Krymov of Arch Group confirmed to that the design has been illegally copied.

The ‘snooze boxes’ at Delhi are aimed at passengers in transit or those who have morning departures or late arrivals, and are equipped with beds, tables for using laptops, WiFi connectivity, electric plugs, flat-screen TVs, DVD players and sockets for charging cellphones. There are five ‘snooze cabins’ available, which can be rented for USD9 per hour. For a video and images of the Indian ‘Snoozebox’, see here and here.

Related articles:
Tiny airport sleeping rooms come to America
Delta partners with Yotel to use capsule rooms as arrival lounge at Heathrow Airport
ANA’s new Narita First Class lounge comes with private pods


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