The red telephone booths are as much a staple of Great Britain as anything else is. They were first designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott back in 1935, and of the 60,000 that were built in the span of nearly a century, about 11,000 are still standing. The need for them has declined dramatically due to the rise in popularity of cell phones. However, the New York-based firm Bar Works is now planning on converting them into co-working offices.
Bar Works has already seen success with this so-called Pod Works program elsewhere, which is why they decided to bring it to London, Leeds and Edinburgh now. The project will involve the converting of the 3-square-foot phone booths into tiny offices, which will all be equipped with a desk and chair, as well as a printer/scanner, a 25-inch monitor, a powerbank of plugs, WiFi, and even a hot drinks machine.
Those interested will be able to rent a pod for about $29.99 (£19.99) a month, which is incredibly inexpensive as far as co-working offices go. This fee actually buys membership in the Pod Works “club” which gives access to any workstation. To gain entrance into a pod, the member will receive an APP and access can be granted at any time during the day or night.
The idea behind these pods is the wish to offer entrepreneurs and other freelance professionals a private and relatively quiet place to work, free of distractions such as can be found at Starbucks or other coffee shops where people go to work. The company is also planning to expand the project to other UK cities in the near future.
This is definitely a novel idea, and a great way to preserve a part of the past and once again turn it into something useful. However, there are some obvious drawbacks, access to a restroom being high on the list. Though I suppose they could install these booths somewhere with a public toilet nearby. Next is the issue of insulation. I’d imagine it gets quite hot in them during the summer, and cold during the winter.