GADGETS: Panic room demand among VIPs is growing

In 2002, American director David Fincher directed thriller Panic Room. In the film, Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart played mother and daughter who, in order to defend themselves from robbers, took refuge in a secure room built in their three-story villa.

Today, protecting wealthy and famous people by building panic rooms has become a millionaire business. Industry magnates, actors, athletes and celebrities are increasingly choosing to have greater security added to their homes.

The main feature of a panic room, a space that offers multiple levels of security, both active and passive, and that is designed to deal with external threats, is its camouflage. To build one, an unused room is needed, possibly one concealed from the house’s blueprints, later disguised as a fake bookcase and with the access secured only by a code or fingerprints.

For this reason one of the main rules for those who build panic rooms is secrecy: the same architects who plan them sign a contract that makes them responsible in the event of a leak of information, and often the construction companies employed are kept in the dark regarding the final destination.

Gavin De Becker, among the world's largest panic-room experts, suggests his customers to destroy their bunkers when they move, to prevent anyone from discovering their defense strategies.

Inside the room it is possible to insert energy generators, an infrared surveillance system, an area dedicated to weapons, a kevlar lining, autonomous air filter systems, first-rate necessities, means of communication with the outside world and even an escape route.

Today's security rooms are quite different from the cold bunkers built, for example, during the Cold War, and within them it is possible to find any kind of technological gadget and amenities unthinkable for the 60s, with customization levels that make them similar to real suites.

For this reason their cost may vary according to requests, from tens of thousands of euros to over one million.

Worldwide, the companies that provide this particular family protection service are growing, so that by now, finding one is just a simple online search away.


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