Monday 7 June 2021


Referred to as “big ear” in Portuguese, Design Boom celebrates fifty years of the iconic egg-shaped public telephone hoods that were configured for privacy, discretion and to parabolically focus sound by architect Chu Ming Silveira (*1941 – †1997). Though now the installations are mostly ornamental—though also subject to repurposing, just like the red telephone booths of London, are an essential part of the streetscapes of Rio de Janeiro, Sรฃo Paulo and dozens of other metropolitan areas in in Central and South America, Africa and China. The open shells were created in response to complaints of compromised reception with traditional call-boxes that took up too much real estate on the sidewalks and were prone to vandalism and expensive to replace, whereas the acrylic hoods were compact and low-cost.