With advanced communication technologies making the iconic British red telephone boxes expendable, a US firm is all set to bring them back to use. Call boxes would be converted into min-offices for workers on-the-go and will offer free coffee to users.
Bar Works Inc's chief executive Jonathan Black, a Briton living in New York, said that his company will refurbish telephone kiosks with fully functional printers, scanners, 25-inch screens and Wi-Fi. The company will refit telephone boxes in five major British cities and has already leased 15 of BT Group's old call boxes in London and Edinburgh. The firm plans to launch the work stations for the general public in the coming months
"It's an alternative to, say, Starbucks but obviously it provides you with total privacy," said Black. The company will go about refitting the telephone boxes in five major British cities and has leased 15 of the BT Group's old telephone boxes in London and Edinburgh. The firm plans to launch the work stations to the public in the coming months.
Bar Works specialises in offering bar-themed work stations in prime locations, charging customers with a monthly subscription in return for free access to the establishment and office supplies. The company plans to operate in a similar manner, offering British customers with monthly memberships to "Pod Works" for £19.99 ($29).
Given the prime location of the telephone boxes, Black expects to gain at least 10,000 members by the end of 2016.
Thanks to mobile phones, the red telephone boxes have been effectively rendered expendable. According to a report by the Daily Mail, decommissioned telephone boxes, especially those damaged by vandalism, are sent to a "telephone box graveyard" of sorts, where they painstakingly restored to their former glory before being sold to collectors across the globe. Such is the demand for properly restored telephone boxes, that it is not uncommon for them to be sold for amounts as high as £10,000.
Despite its undoing, in a 2015 survey, the British red telephone box, which was originally designed in 1920, was voted the greatest British design of all time.