A Vancouver "social artist" has opened a café that blocks wireless signals from reaching its customers, hoping the environment will foster low-tech social interaction.

From the outside it looks like a typical shop, but inside the Faraday Café, is a mesh enclosure that repels all electromagnetic signals, including cell phone signals and Wi-Fi.

Julien Thomas

Faraday Café owner Julien Thomas calls himself a "social artist" (CBC)

Artist Julian Thomas has rented the space for two weeks to set up the internet and cellular-free gathering place and will serve a rotation of artisanal coffees by donation.

"This is a place to kind of reflect on our relationship to digital technology," says Thomas.

He wants to encourage people to take a break from their gadgets, reconnect with the world and use technology in a more thoughtful way.

It's an interesting concept that has some Vancouverites intrigued.

"I think it's great. I think it brings people back to reality a little bit," says Chris Forest-Wong. "When you get cut off you're actually present and aware of what's going on."

Faraday cafe cage

This enclosure at the The Faraday Café repels wireless signals (CBC)

Others seem interested, but skeptical.

"Do I think it's going to work? Not really," says Nathan Taylor. "I think people are going to go for it as a novelty but they’re not going to be there every day."

The café will host pop-up dinner parties on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., afternoon DJ sets on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays starting at 3 p.m., and a storytelling night on July 15.

If you want to visit the space yourself and "disconnect," you'd better do it fast. The Faraday Café is only open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday until July 16.


What do you think? Would you go to a café that blocks your cellular devices? Tell us in the comments section below.

With files from the CBC's Stephanie Mercier