The cool art of vintage phone booths

Old phone booths don’t die, they become modern art or a changing room

phone booths
Kevin Coombs / Reuters

Once ubiquitous to almost any street corner, cell phones have largely rendered phone booths to history’s scrap heap. But people are doping some interesting things with the telephone booths that remain. In Brazil for example, they encourage artists to paint the systems with wild colors. In England there’s a company that turns the old red boxes into all manner of items – including a shower stall. New York City recently made a bunch of telephone booths into Wi-Fi hotspots. Take a look at some of the cooler colors of the telephone booth.

phone booths
Nacho Doce / Reuters

Telephone booth painted by Brazilian artists Julia and Ricardo Paoliello during Call Parade art exhibition in Sao Paulo. The Call Parade, held this month is a street art exhibition involving 100 artists who decorated and painted 100 public telephone booths.

phone booths
Bobby Yip / Reuters

A mock telephone booth inside the "Kitty Lab", a simulated city environment of Hello Kitty, to celebrate the character's 35th anniversary, inside an exhibition center in Hong Kong.

phone booths
Nacho Doce / Reuters

A man takes a picture of a friend posing inside a public telephone booth painted by Brazilian artist Carla Pires.

phone booths
Nigel Roddis / Reuters

Duncan Berry holds the door open as his children Jemima (L) and Hugo choose books from the village phone box in Marton cum Grafton, northern England. The classic red phone booth in the center of the village, was bought by residents and turned into a book exchange, as part of British Telecom’s Adopt a Kiosk campaign which has seen more than 350 red phone boxes adopted by small communities across Britain.

phone booths
Nacho Doce / Reuters

Here a man takes a picture of a friend posing in front of a public telephone booth painted by Brazilian artist Flavio Scocco de Abreu during the Call Parade.

phone booths
Eddie Keogh / Reuters

A piece by artist David Mach and entitled 'Out of Order' shows a row of traditional English red phone boxes.

phone booths
Bruno Domingos / Reuters

A tourist talks at a public phone booth fashioned to look like an ox.

phone booths
Nacho Doce / Reuters

A man looks at a public telephone booth painted by Brazilian artist Juarez Fagundes during the Call Parade art exhibition.

phone booths
Nacho Doce / Reuters

A public telephone booth painted by Brazilian artist Danilo Root.

phone booths
Nacho Doce / Reuters

Public telephone booth decorated by Brazilian artist Emili Akemi.

phone booths
Nacho Doce / Reuters

Public telephone booth painted by Brazilian artist Patricia Nascimento.

phone booths
Nacho Doce / Reuters

Telephone booth painted by Brazilian artist Juarez Fagundes.

phone booths
Reuters

Pedestrian stops by to use public phones in booth uniquely shaped like the regions' wild animals in the town of Primavera do Leste, near the capital city of Cuiaba in Mato Grosso. The booth is shaped like a "Dourado" fish.

phone booths
Reuters

Phone booth in the shape of two pandas in Dujinagyan, (48 miles) south of the Wolong Giant Panda Sanctuary in Sichuan province. 

phone booths
Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

Cheerleaders change their outfits in red phone booths during a performance before the Heineken Cup final rugby match.

phone booths
Nigel Roddis / Reuters

Red telephone box is seen awaiting renovation at X2 Connect in northern England. The former British Telecom units are renovated by eight workers over a period of four weeks for private clients, at a cost of over $3,200. The company is currently working on 60 units which have been sold, and have orders for over 100 units for customers across the world including a client in Saudi Arabia who has ordered one as a shower.

phone booths

11 phoney phone booths. Can you hear me now? Probably not. But these non-functioning or repurposed phone booths offer cool, fun and even practical elements for the public.