The Scribe

The Key to Escaping Reality: Zenbooths

Hana McNierney, Staff Writer

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Ever been so frustrated and irritated with your environment and the people in it? Well, The Wing, a women-only club might have the solution: Zenbooths, a solution to have soundproof space in a crowded office founded by Sam Johnson. Zenbooths provide a comfort space for people to escape into during their work.Similar in size, and resembling the form of a boxed cubicle, they act as a phone booth comeback. However, they are nothing like dirty, run-down, claustrophobic feeling cubicles, and have instead made a more posh and trendy return. The main reason telephone booths died out is all because of the mobile phone. Yet in modern companies, where cubicles are compact and closely knitted together, the sounds of a neighbor talking on a mobile phone are simply distracting. The irony of the situation lies in the fact that the phone booth, which went extinct because of the mobile phone, are back, all because of the cell phone. Now, they are back but with variations. Included in the glass-doored zenbooths, a power outlet, a low shelf, a stool, and a nonfunctional but visually pleasing retro telephone. In the booths, people are allowed some much deserved alone-time, and can do anything from having a phone call, to simply relaxing. They also come in different sizes. At the 17th street headquarters of Gizmodo Media Group, zenbooths were an instant hit. This also meant that that original five booths installed were not enough. Soon, four more booths were installed, and included was a two person meeting area booth.

Courtesy of A. Savin.
A new version of these grimy phone booths called zenbooths are trending, similar in size, and resembling the form of a boxed cubicle, they act as a phone booth comeback.

Although zenbooths have since expanded profusely, they started out as one simple, small room in the interior of The Wing in 2016. Sponsored by Chanel, The Wing, acts as a co-working space and feminism activist for 1,500 women. Now, they are selling at their office phone booths website anywhere from $3,995 for a standard one-person booth to $15,995 for a two-person booth to Volkswagen, Lyft, Meetup and Capital One. Other companies have also joined the race in offering ideas to privacy in offices. These companies include the Cubicall, which customizes the exterior walls, the Nomad, which is constructed partially of recycled plastic, and the TalkBox, which has whiteboards for its clients.Previously at modern workplaces everywhere, the only way to drown out the sounds of a neighbor colleague arguing on the phone, was to put on headphones. These companies were at a loss as to what to do. Although tight cubicles were often uncomfortable, more times than not, companies preferred the cheaper floor plan rather than a luxurious one. Luckily, the return of the zenbooths was a much welcomed invention. Employees are now able to sneak in private conversations at work and have a quick minute to themselves, which prevents them from feeling overwhelmed.
The old-phone booths, which held an eerie image associated with crime, are not likely to pop back with its old functions. However, in this busy world, where many adults find themselves fed up with the tight fitting modern interior of companies, a version of the phone booths are slowly trickling in. As stress and the desire for peace is something everyone deals with, who knows where the zenbooths may appear next.

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The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California
The Key to Escaping Reality: Zenbooths