One of the things that makes my heart beat faster, makes me more excited about a place as soon as I read or hear about it, is definitely street art (see my Valparaiso post). Something I might easily travel some extra miles for, as it is with photography exhibitions, modern art and architecture. And yes I have to admit it, sometimes itineraries are even scheduled around that. Yet, when I first read about the Call Parade in Sao Paulo it was simply too late to adjust our travelling schedule to be there in time and it seemed I had to miss out on the fancification of the city’s telephone booths. What a surprise it was consequently when we drove through Avenida Paulista one of our first nights in town and I noticed the decorated booths were still standing!
In a time where phone booths will possibly be disappearing from the street view in many countries due to more and more people owning cell phones, in Brazil phone booths can still be found plentiful. The current egg-shaped phone booth was first introduced to the Brazilian streets back in 1972, after a design of Chu Ming Silveira, who developed a more practical, sustainable and aesthetical alternative for the until then commonly used cylindrical phone booth. Soon the new booths would fill many Brazilian streets.
Turning forty this year one of the Brazilian phone companies decided to celebrate the anniversary of the egg-shaped booth by having 100 phone booths in São Paulo decorated by different artists. Besides being a fun and creative way of bringing art closer to the public, it is at the same time a smart way to draw the attention to the (use of) phone booths in a market where mobile phones are getting more and more affordable and will likely soon gain ground over the old-fashioned way of calling.