Vancouver coffee shop blocks your phone, on purpose

From Fast Coexist:

When you step inside the Faraday Cafe in Vancouver, it’s like stepping into a black hole. You suddenly become unreachable.

The coffee shop is the first in the world to actively repel wireless signals, so it’s impossible to get a call or a text or check your email. Instead, the cafe’s creator hopes that you’ll talk to the friend or stranger next to you.

“I think that the proliferation of digital technology like smartphones has happened so fast that we haven’t really had a chance to have a conversation about the etiquette or the ethics around their use,” says artist Julien Thomas, who designed the temporary cafe as an art project along with architects from Hughes Condon Marler. “I wanted to create a space outside of the media–literally outside of our access–so we could have a conversation about how we use technology.”

The design uses a metallic box called a Faraday cage to block signals, and the architects worked to make sitting in a cage something people might actually want to do. “The material is actually quite beautiful,” Thomas says. “It reflects light and shadow. I think there’s a lot that can be done with it. Instead of lamenting that you have to be enclosed in a cage, it can really be a beautiful space.”