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Shanghai Smart Booth
Shanghai | China
Shanghai Smart Booths is the result of 100architects’ second collaboration with the Shanghai Branch of China Telecom, the state-owned Chinese telecommunications company, after our previous Orange Phone Booths, where we did an exercise of turning these old relics into modern functional urban furniture. This time we went beyond that.
Once essential technology that played a great role in connecting thousands of people across cities and countries, phone booths these days are disappearing from the face of the cityscapes. The city of New York, for mentioning one, bade its farewells to the last free-standing phone booth on May 23, 2022. Unable to meet the demands of the rapidly changing daily communication needs of urban dwellers, the phone booths that are still standing in Shanghai are seen as telecommunication relics, forgotten, neglected, and sometimes sadly mistreated.
The new Shanghai Smart Booth is a unique type of urban artifact powered by solar panels on its roof, a sophisticated design that demonstrates the infinite potential of creative thinking about the cityscape and public realm.
Equipped with a variety of new features, these technologically upgraded versions of old iconic Shanghai phone booths cater to the needs of the progressive tech-savvy population of Shanghai as much as to the safety needs of the elderly who may still remember using phone booths for their primary function.
In addition to a free three-minute phone call, these new, yet traditionally red, digitalized phone kiosks offer around-the-clock Wi-Fi hotspots, 5G transceivers, wireless charging for mobile devices, as well as USB connectivity, touch screens with city maps and easy one-click taxi-hailing services. A panic button along with such artificial intelligence features as face recognition is meant to assist the elderly and tackle an alarming problem of elderly people going missing in China.
Designing with practicality and functionality in mind, we couldn’t leave the fun out and slotted in a selfie wall that will be surely favored by selfie kings and queens, providing this booth with a new fun way to interact with its users.
To revamp the old booth while yet keeping the aesthetic soul and recognizable features of the old version (rouge red color, sloped hat on top, boxy shape), the defining features of our new design became soft lines, rounded edges, minimalist smooth surfaces, and functional thoughtful details. The addition of a pinch of color-contrast between the outer red layer and the inner black meandering stripe contributed to injecting strength and power to the contemporary statement wanted to be made.
Such integration of functional upgraded digital features in the contemporary look and feel of the new China Telecom phone box is an effort to make the phone booth an essential part of the cityscape again, and a part of the collective urban consciousness, a place to connect and interact, a place to recharge, slow down and have a cup of coffee, to take a shelter from rain or sizzling heat, and most importantly, a place to create a link that connects phone booths with the past, present and future of this city’s history.
PROJECT NAME: Shanghai Smart Booth
DESIGN: 100 Architects (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.
DESIGN TEAM: Marcial Jesús, Javier González, Mónica Páez, Lara Broglio, Ponyo Zhao, Keith Gong, Cosima Jiang, Michelle Aldora, Jango Zhang & Yuntong Liu.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEAM: Jenny Fan, & Eva Jiang.
CLIENT: China Telecom Shanghai
SIZE: 1 m2
LOCATION: Shanghai (China)
PHOTOGRAPHY: Rex Zou
VIDEOGRAPHY: Lalo López
The booths will be installed all over Shanghai, being part of the public realm, it will provide the citizens with many useful and interesting features for a modern city living.
It allows access to free Wi-Fi 24/7 around the city, it is equipped with a touch screen with many functions such as city maps, request for taxis and photobooth.
On the other hand, the booth counts with wireless phone charging as well as USB connection, cameras for elderly recognition (for lost elders, common thing in China), panic button, and some other fun functions such as the selfie wall and music speakers.
What is an street intervention?
This is the smallest scale of interventions that takes place in the public realm of a city, related to the altering of a portion or a whole street or square, whether vehicular or pedestrian, by adding or installing new alienated elements to the existing configuration of the street.
This typology intervenes existing urban settings by occupying the ground of a given area and by acting as an accessible and multifunctional platform, catalyzing social interactions. It is a tactical intervention with a non-territorial nature, keeping a clear formal and aesthetic distinction from the existing surroundings.
The main objective of this typology is to trigger a massive public interest to the place through a strong visual impact, usually of a temporary nature, encouraging the rise of high public affluence during a specific period of time, becoming a remarkable virtual landmark that attracts customers and cultivates important human dynamics and commercial activity.
The proposal is strongly inspired by local nature, dragging inspiration from Azalea flowers, often seen in not only in Jiaxing City, but also in Zhejiang Province. The design strategy is over-scaling the leaves of Azalea flower in order to create structures which offer shelter to citizens and users of the bus public transportation.
This proposal is part of a series of 2 renovation of bus stops inspired in flowers in Huancheng Nan Road in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China.
“Lotus Eco-Bus Stop” is an eye-catching proposal strongly inspired by nature, collecting the rain water and solar energy.
Permanently open to the public as a new typology of functional open urban objects which provide of free wifi connection, free USB charging sockets, sitting arrangement, newspaper rack, coffee table, reading lights at night and a emergency public phone are among the new features of this revamp phone booths.