Emma Franceschina
SnapCab Japandi Pod

‘Space to Be You’ Winner Demonstrates Flexibility of Privacy Pods

June 6, 2022
The winner of the inaugural “Space to Be You” contest proves that the design options of privacy pods are nearly endless, creating a Zen-like oasis in the process.

In today’s new hybrid workplace and other busy public spaces, the need to escape the hectic (and often noisy) environments around us has never been greater. As a result, designers have been tasked with incorporating more square footage dedicated to quiet, heads-down spaces in recent years to counterbalance the open interiors that stimulate conversation and collaboration.

Standalone privacy pods have become increasingly popular in commercial interiors because they not only offer visual and acoustic privacy, but also can be moved as needs change. However, most off-the-shelf solutions on the market are fairly standard without a tremendous amount of design options.

But what if you could think outside the box (pun intended) and completely customize a privacy pod of your own? What would your personal privacy pod look like?

That’s a question architectural products manufacturer SnapCab recently posed to the readers of i+s when it launched its inaugural “Space to Be You” pod design contest. The first of its kind competition provided an opportunity for designers to use their creative vision to completely customize a pod for a chance to bring it to life.

“Our pods are highly flexible in design, so this contest was intended to demonstrate how flexible our pods can be and actually let designers get their hands in there and play with them to see what they can do,” said Carla Bostock, art director and product aesthetics designer, SnapCab. “It also is an opportunity to celebrate designers, their creativity and critical thinking—and making a fun way to customize their pods.”

We asked readers to create mood boards of their dream pod along with a brief conceptual write-up about their designs and one of several market sectors for which it was designed: Workplace, Education, Healthcare, Hospitality, Government or Public Space. We then put the entries to a popular vote on the i+s Instagram account to select a winner, whose pod will be designed by SnapCab and on display at NeoCon (not to mention a $1,000 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to Chicago for the show).

And the Winner Is …

“The entries that came in as a whole, we were all really impressed by them,” Bostok said. “There were a lot of different ideas we’d never even thought of, and it’s really fun seeing that creativity at work and people’s interpretation of the different materials as well as the application in the industry.”

Entries ranged from hospitality applications as bed-and-breakfasts to standalone homeless shelters, which demonstrated how flexible these types of pods can be when creativity is put to the test. But one entry stretched the boundaries of what SnapCab had in mind, Bostok said, and was the uncontested favorite among Instagram voters.

Our congratulations go to Emma Franceschina, a soon-to-be graduate interior design student at Georgia Southern University and the winner of the “Space to Be You” pod design contest from i+s and SnapCab! Her beautifully designed pod, aptly named “Japandi,” blends the modern flair of Scandinavian design with the timeless elegance of Japanese Zen.

“My design is inspired by the Japandi style of interiors, typically, but now it’s a pod,” Franceschina explained. “It’s sort of a blend of the clean and light Scandinavian style with the classical Zen Japanese style—in particular, the wooden beams and the color palette of natural woods are directly drawn from the two styles, as well as keeping everything very simple and neutral. The brown panels were inspired by brown glass and the motif on the glass is reminiscent of sort of ink on paper, which is something that’s very simple, but still very expressive.”

Wooden acoustic beams contrast texturally to cement-esque acoustic panels. The top panels of 3Form glass allow plenty of light, supplemented with an organically shaped pendant on either side of the cushy chair. A range of mixed materials and finishes balance perfectly to form a truly elegant pod solution that’s unlike anything on the market.

“Toying with that Japanese Zen, a very calming space with all of the acoustical paneling, I just wanted you to go in there and kind of just be able to breathe, get a break from a lot of the open plan offices, because this one was particularly designed for the workplace,” Franceschina said. “So many offices now are open plan, so having that little pod where you can just go in and have a moment to your own thoughts” was a driver behind the winning pod’s design.

Franceschina’s award-winning design will be produced by SnapCab and will be on display at theMART in Chicago during NeoCon, June 13-15, 2022, where attendees can experience it firsthand. The Japandi pod will debut at a launch party on Sunday, June 12 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on the first floor.

To learn more about SnapCab and the “Space to Be You” contest, visit snapcab.com or tune in to the I Hear Design podcast by i+s to hear more of the backstory on the contest and the winning design.  

About the Author

Robert Nieminen | Chief Content Director

Robert Nieminen is the Chief Content Director of Architectural Products, BUILDINGS and i+s, sister publications of Smart Buildings Technology. He is an award-winning writer with more than 20 years of experience reporting on the architecture and design industry.

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