Picture Prattle: What’s Old Is New

10 Dec


In a world that’s constantly modernizing, there seem to be two approaches to dealing with “old things.” Number 1: Knock ’em down. Number 2: Repurpose them.

Obviously it isn’t always possible, but I’m generally a fan of the second approach. When I think about modernizing, I usually think about things like houses and city grids- not simple elements like phone booths. But walking around Shanghai, we kept noticing these phone booths gracing public streets. Phone booths themselves are a bit thin in numbers these days, so even the sheer abundance of phone booths was enough to catch our eye. What really stood out to us, though, was the fact that the booths said “WIFI” in huge letters across the top.

What a good idea! Take an existing product (for lack of a better word) and repurpose it to  match an updated consumer need. Some people still need phone booths to make calls, of course, but what’s in these days is WIFI, not phone calls. Turning phone booths into hotspots is such a savvy thing to do! I couldn’t help but give the concept two thumbs up. And it made me think about the fact that so many objects get torn down, even as buildings are saved. Doesn’t it make you wonder what else graced this street 10 years ago? 20? 100?


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