For lots of people, great value is placed on personal space, something that can be in short supply in major, bustling cities such as New York, Tokyo or London. With that mind, one hotel brand has unveiled an unusual and unique concept; an inflatable “personal space jacket,” designed to give you some breathing room in large crowds.

The Space Optimiser jacket on the London Underground
The Space Optimiser jacket on the London Underground © Leonardo Hotels

Released by Leonardo Hotels, the prototype bubble jacket was created following a survey that revealed 3.5 million British people have never visited London, with 21% stating that it is due to the capital being too busy and imposing. In response to the results, the hotel chain decided to create The Space Optimiser, described as a “seemingly unremarkable bomber jacket surround by a clear PVC, which, when inflated via a conveniently placed electric pump inserted into a valve in the jacket, creates a barrier between wearer and busy crowds, meaning London-visitors can enjoy their personal space as well as the capital’s sights.”

Personal space jacket in crowd
The jacket can be deployed in large crowds © Leonardo Hotels

The jacket retains a distance of 18 inches, the minimum measurement of what is considered “personal space” according to the science of proxemics (the study of human space). It can be deployed before walking through crowds on busy streets, while images released by the hotel show it being used on the London Underground, a place where people have no choice but to be in close proximity to each other.

“After our findings came to light, we decided to invest in combating the issue because we are committed to encouraging people to visit this iconic capital and enjoying it as much as we do. With this in mind, our very own Space Optimiser jacket was born. It really stands out in a crowd so it’s caught the attention of lots of people. It’s unlike anything that they have seen before and we have been really pleased with the reaction so far,” a representative of Leonardo Hotels told Lonely Planet. 

Personal space jacket in London
According to the hotel, they will create the jacket if enough people show interest in it. © Leonardo Hotels

The hotel also said that while The Space Optimiser jacket is a prototype, the response and interest that has been generated is making them consider creating a version that can actually be used by guests.

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