Innovation That Matters

It's impossible to check Facebook in this café


Faraday Café uses a unique architectural design to create a space where all phone and wifi signals are blocked.

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The modern phenomenon of a group of friends sitting together while individually staring at their smartphones is one that leaves a bitter taste, especially in the mouths of restaurant owners who are finding the atmosphere in their venue is being killed. We’ve already seen Singpore’s Social Rehab offer drink discounts for those who agreed to leave their device at the door, and now Canada’s Faraday Café has gone even further, using a unique architectural design to create a space where all phone and wifi signals are blocked.

Located at the Chinatown Experiment pop-up space in Vancouver, the temporary coffeeshop was set up inside a smaller construction inside the building. The room was designed as a large Faraday cage, an enclosure made of a mesh of conducting material that is able to block any electric signals. Once visitors stepped into the café, their phones and laptops became unable to connect to outside cell, wireless internet or wifi coverage. The idea for the café was to encourage customers to take a break from their devices and maybe even talk to strangers sharing their table. Artist Julian Thomas, who designed the café, told Fast Company: “I wanted to design a space where you don’t have to tell someone to stop. The arrangement of the room and the materials allow people to effortlessly walk in and decide their own limits.”

The café was open for a limited time at the beginning of this month, where a variety of events including meditation sessions and talks about digital technology were held. Are there other spaces that could be created to give people a break from social media and always-on connectivity?



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