Calgary

Dying for some privacy in an open-space office? This Alberta company may have the answer

Soundproof, lockable phone booths are built by an Edmonton-based design firm to bring privacy to the open-plan office space.

Alberta company creates soundproof, lockable spaces for open-concept offices

The Loop phone booth is designed and manufactured in Alberta. (Onetwosix Design)

It's not just Superman's change room anymore; the phone booth could be coming to your workplace as a solution to the loss of privacy endemic to open-concept offices.

An Edmonton-based company is creating what they call a "modern take on private space" for public areas.

The Loop phone booth was created by Nick Kazakoff, of Onetwosix Design, as a solution to offer privacy within the constraints of open-concept and shared workspaces, which continue to gain popularity.

A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology in 2013 found that the lack of privacy in open-plan offices was a "main source" of dissatisfaction in the workplace.

The booths aren't cheap, with prices starting at around $11,000. (Onetwosix Design)

It also found that the benefits of an open-plan workplace didn't offset the disadvantages of increased noise and decreased privacy.

The Loop design uses a glass door that is 10 millimetres thick to help ensure the space is soundproof, and provides enough room for one person to use it for a private phone call or video conference.

There are also ventilation fans to ensure the small booth doesn't become stuffy.

'Beautiful open space, no place to take private calls'

According to Kazakoff, the idea came after his company started working on designs for a building in Edmonton more than three years ago.

"They had a similar problem [to] many open-concept offices: beautiful open space, no place to take private calls," said Kazakoff, who added that the phone booth design was "a bit of an afterthought."

The phone booth product started gaining international attention from there.

Nick Kazakoff is the creator of the Loop phone booth. (CBC)

"We started honestly getting phone calls from companies like Pokemon,"  said Kazakoff who added that Shopify has also purchased the units.

According to Kazakoff, prices start at $11,000, depending on customization. The units are designed and manufactured in Alberta, but they are selling internationally. A company in Texas has placed an order for 50 units.

He just spent an entire day in the phone booth, [and our client] had to buy another one.- Nick Kazakoff, creator of Loop phone booths

The creators estimate the booths are usually occupied for 30 minutes at a time. 

"We were visiting a client's office in New York recently, and they have one person who works there who's quite introverted," said Kazakoff.

"He just spent an entire day in the phone booth [and] they ended up having to buy another one from us."

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

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