The Cell Atlantic CellBooth
Jenny L Chowdhury

Talking on the phone is no longer a private exchange. What if you could carry a phone booth with you and set it up when you needed to converse in private?

Not so long ago, "Chatty Cathys" sought rooms or, if outdoors, phone booths to conduct phone conversations. The personal space provided by these enclosures created the illusion of privacy for the two parties on the phone line.

Now, we talk on cell phones everywhere we go, disregarding issues of privacy (and also those of courtesy). People often don't care if others hear their end of the conversation. In fact, we can often hear both sides of the conversation when the cell phone is especially loud.

In addition, we are also often walking about, hailing cabs, shopping, etc. while we talk on the phone. How much attention are we really giving the person on the other end when we're multi-tasking and hurrying towards our next destination? What would happen if we were forced to stand still while we spoke on the phone?

As I grappled with these issues of privacy, personal space and nostalgia for a "simpler time", the idea for portable phone booth was born. The portable phone booth, which I call the "Cell Atlantic CellBooth", is a wearable object you can carry around with you and set up when you need a moment to talk . The deliberate nature of setting up the booth and standing in place while one talks enforces the idea that the call is important -not something to do while picking up the kids, working out, or driving. Ultimately, I desired to recreate the illusion of privacy and stillness afforded by oldschool, 4-walled phone booths, but also to update the booth as a portable object that would fit into a modern life.

What emerged was a wearable/portable phone booth and subsequently a piece of performance art that calls the attention of New Yorkers to the changes in human behavior due to the ubiquitous use of cell phones. The project prompts people to take stock in how cell phone technology has altered the ways in which we communicate with each other and the environment surrounding us.

click to enlarge:

Design Decisions:

~Cell Atlantic logo

- Before Verizon was Verizon, It was Bell Atlantic. The name "Cell Atlantic" is a throw back to Ma Bell's telecommunication labs.



~Logo Application -stencil cut/spray painted

-The logo was stencil cut and spray painted to make it appear native to the street.
~Material - "Third world Samsonite"

- The Booth was constructed from merchant bags from China a.k.a "Third World Samsonite" by my friend Doria. The material denotes the nomadic quality of the booth. It also provides some structure since it's rather stiff. It's water repellent in case you're caught in a shower.


~BackPack - Straps to make it wearble

-Straps make the booth easy to carry on one's back

~Cell Phone Pocket

-A convient and fashionable pocket to store your cell phone when you're not using it.
~Cell Phone Shaped Zipper Ornament

-A laser cut acrylic cellphone ornament makes the booth zipper easier to pull


Photos from the ITP spring Show:



Thanks to:
Project advisor:
Despina Papadopoulos

Joshua Dickens
Sai Sriskandarajah
David Shulman

You may view more of my projects at