What Comes Next for the British Iconic Red Phone Box?
The red phone boxes are one of the most distinctive British icons in the world. However, regardless of their iconic status, they have been phasing out over the past 30 years. Since the British Telecom’s announcement of their transition plan to slowly discontinue their payphone support back in the 1990s, red phone boxes became more of a functionless street decoration. With the raising popularity of mobile phones and the rapid network technology advancement, the 21st century does not provide much purpose for these timed public phone booths.
Red phone boxes went through a series of transformation. The well-recognized K2 and K6 phone boxes are designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, the architect behind Battersea and Bankside Power Station (now Tate Modern).
Since the phase out, many phone boxes were taken down and left to wither in the their graveyard. For those which withstand the transition, their function shifts from providing phone services to nostalgia. Creative minds seek their opportunities to give these phone boxes a makeover; the original red phone boxes can now adapt a range of new identities.
New adaptations range from small library and art gallery, to solar mobile phone charging station and cash points, to street art installation and furniture transformation.
Seeing these phone box transformations live on the street is really exciting. The adaptation not only preserves the original nostalgic and iconic British design in public display and saved them from becoming landfill, it also gives these phone boxes a second life to serve the general public.