The verb "relegated" comes up a lot when discussing smoking areas. Smokers used to have their choice of puffing spots in public spaces, but now have been "relegated" or "banished" to unappealing spots like dark alleyways and grim indoor smoking rooms at airports or shopping centers. The Japanese firm of Hiroyuki Ogawa Architects recently unveiled a non-depressing version of a smoking shelter for a mall on the outskirts of Tokyo, with curved wooden screens that help direct the smoke toward an exhaust outlet on the ceiling, and an illuminated ledge that smokers are supposed to hold their cigarettes over.
The whole effect looks more like a blond wood sauna with a tanning bed ledge than the usual hot-boxed smoking cave. The wall facing the shopping center is made of glass, while its opposite wall is mirrored to minimize the effect of the fog. "By setting up a fan between the ashtray and the exhaust outlet, the second-hand smoke and smoke from people's mouths are quickly drawn away," the architects explain.
This is not the first time architects have set their minds upon improving the conditions of the world's banished smokers. In recent years, at least three high-design pavilions have been built for the purpose, with a backyard concrete structure by Gianni Botsford in Zurich, Switzerland even winning a Wallpaper Design Award.