Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Thoughts on telephone boxes

The K2 phone box came into existence in a time where design was becoming a growing public concern, fuelled by the developing industrial revolution. People saw which way design was going, and they didn’t like the route, or the outcomes it was producing along the way. Something needed to change drastically for the sudden surge of industry to develop in the right way.

K1 phone boxes were a harsh rectangular concrete design, with a few curving scrolls on the top for decoration. ‘It was essentially Edwardian in conception and seemed a crude and old fashioned design for the 1920s’ (Telephone boxes). Some boroughs (particularly in London) even refused to erect them in their surroundings. After many failed re-designs, the Birmingham Civic Society used their contacts to hold a new competition. This time the Royal Fine Art Commission selected the best creative minds of the time to design a new box.

Amongst the designers was architect Giles Gilbert Scott, who produced the winning design which won the votes in a land slide ‘It was arguably one of the very best examples of British industrial design.’.

The K2 phone box was one of the first objects to link architecture, design, art and craft together. What is really impressive about the K2 is that it captured the minds of the people, and used the techniques of the time, and still appeals to today’s world.

The design was undoubtedly anchored in classical architecture, and has long since reached the status of art.

Things to research further:

How the telephone box fits into art, craft and design. Artists who use the telephone box in their work. Look further into the design, and which styles it fits into.