For most, mobile phones have become an extension of oneself. If your phone were to break, or your battery dies, it is likely you feel incomplete. LoveFone, is taking on this contemporary telecommunications need by transforming the iconic UK red telephone boxes into mobile handset repair spots and charging stations.
Designed in 1936 by Battersea Power Station architect Giles Gilbert Scott, the red phone booth is an internationally recognized symbol of British culture. With the rise of mobile technology, these phone booths have been rendered obsolete. LoveFone, through Red Kiosk, plans to re-purpose six booths in Greenwhich and Knightsbridge initially; aiming to have 35 locations in London in 18 months’ time.
Once retrofitted, the phone booth acts as a work space for a single repair person. Creating the minimalist design was challenging due to the cast iron structure and heritage listing of the booths. A wooden work bench and storage unit is provided. The final product creates an environment that successfully incorporates the needs for equipment, parts, and storage. Windows of the booths were also kept clear, allowing pedestrians to peer into the tiny workshops.
LoveFone repairs focus on efficiency with the best possible results. Through the re-purposing of phone booths, LoveFone hopes to retain the historical aspect of public service by providing accessible repairs and free charging docks. These repair stations are only one of the many ideas surrounding the re-purposing of the iconic phone boxes. In recent years, the phone booths have been adapted for a variety of new uses: micro work spaces, sandwich shops, libraries, and galleries. Red Kiosk aims to redefine the use of phone booths to suit modern day needs and requirements without compromising the original external appearance. This act of re-purposing leads to re-generation and the creation of employment opportunities within communities.
Those interested in re-purposing a booth can purpose their own idea or go with one of Red Kiosk’s concepts including: coffee booths, waffle booths, or even ice cream/smoothie booths. Telecoms provider BT also runs an Adopt a Kiosk scheme, allowing communities, charities, or individuals to “buy” a phone booth for £1 and re-purpose it for creative uses. Since the launch of this program, more than 3500 communities across the UK have seized the opportunity to re-purpose a local phone box.