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green design, eco design, sustainable design, phone booth fish tank, converted phone booth, Kingyobu, Osaka, recycle art, public fish tank

Since 2011, Kingyobu, which literally means “goldfish club,” has been converting the barely-used booths into living ecosystems that are full of brightly-colored goldfish. The installations activate public squares, creating not only an art installation but a meeting point for locals to marvel and chat with one another.

Kingyobu’s first step is to totally waterproof the phone booth’s interior, sealing cracks around the doors and edges. The booth’s original bench and telephone are left inside, creating an underwater diorama akin to a home fish tank. As the tank is filled with water through a hose, the telephone’s receiver floats to the top, perpetually stuck in use. After the water and filter are installed, dozens of gold fish are added. At night, the tank glows from within, illuminating the town squares in which they are placed. The filters keep the water clean and clear, while the top opens like a regular tank to keep the fish fed.

Goldfish are highly symbolic in Japanese culture, appearing in art works for a thousand years, so Kingyobu’s phone booth transformation not only pays tribute to an almost obsolete victim of technology, but also tips its hat to Japanese tradition.

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Via Spoon Tamago