Years ago, telephone booths provided people with an important public service. When you needed to phone someone, you just threw a quarter into the machine and dialed up your buddy. Since everybody and their grandma has a cell phone nowadays, especially with companies giving them away for free, pretty much the only time you ever see anybody use a pay phone is on TV. You know the scene – some hotshot detective is investigating a crime when the big bad evil guy calls the detective on the untraceable public phone so that he can gloat.
Well, Japanese evil geniuses are going to have a harder time tooting their own horns, because the Kingyobu collective (literally “goldfish club”) has been transforming the old, useless public phone booths into lovely fish tanks. These tanks revitalize stagnant public spaces by giving locals something to marvel over.
They start off the phone-to-fish conversion by waterproofing the phone booths. They seal the cracks around the booth’s edges and fortify the structure so that the aquarium won’t buckle under all of that weight. But if the fish feel homesick they can always call their relatives in the nearby river – Kingyobu left the original telephone inside of the booth. It makes you wonder: what would a fishy voice mail sound like?
Past that, it’s pretty much a standard fish tank. The top opens up so that the Kingyobu collective can keep the fish fed, equipment keeps the water clean and bubbly, and a built-in light source gives off a subtle glow during the night.
What I love about this aquarium is that it brings aquatic life into the public space. Usually, aquariums are tucked away inside of homes or businesses. It’s extremely rare that you see somebody go through the effort to install a fish tank in the middle of town square. That just goes to show you that you don’t have to build your aquarium inside of your living room. If you want, you could have Okeanos Group install a top-notch aquarium on your front porch, out back next to your swimming pool, or on the sidewalk next to your business. A sharp sign will get you plenty of customers, but nothing will get your business more foot traffic quite like a sparkling public aquarium.
The one and only problem with a public aquarium is that you have to worry about vandalism. An aquarium might make a tempting target for a ne’er-do-well, so an aquarium like this might be best suited for businesses that always keep a security guard around at night. Of course, you won’t run into quite as much of a risk if you install an outdoor aquarium at your home. Either way, you might want to consider the idea of an outdoor aquarium. It’s a great way to bring beautiful elegance to a public or private outdoor space.