HAVANA — Cuba's belated embrace of the Internet has people packing into places like the Plaza de la Revolución and the colonial fort Castillito, two of the island's just 114 public WiFi hotspots.
Overall, the number of Cubans who regularly access the Web is still relatively small. But things are changing, and quickly. The Internet revolution is just getting underway here.
So far, however, efforts to accommodate the growing number of cybernauts have been minimal. The few places that offer WiFi service are crowded and not particularly suited for typing and Web surfing.
Photo: Eric Vernier
With that in mind, a pair of graduates from Cuba's ISDI design school developed a concept for a Lego-like module where people can sit — in a friendly, comfortable and shaded place — and connect to the Internet, Vivian Urfeig reports in Clarín.
The designers, Luis Ramírez and Michel J. Aguilar, have already created a prototype and may soon get government permission to erect a trial Internet station in the capital. The concept was also chosen to represent Cuba at the London Design Biennale 2016 and bid_16, the Latin American design fair.
A young woman surfing the Internet at a public wifi spot in the district of Marianao, Havana – Photo: Isaac Risco/ZUMA
The Internet stations consist of easy-to-assemble biodegradable cubes, and can be larger or smaller depending on the space available. They have fake grass flooring and solar panels, allowing devices to be recharged. Segments will be designed to accommodate elderly or disabled users.
"We developed a meeting place that favors interaction and humanizes the city," says Ramírez.