Mercury’s last lonely message

Pentagram partner Kenneth Grange said they were “horrific, crass and nasty” only hours after their introduction in 1988, while Design pundit Stephen Bayley recently called them “an example of aesthetic depravity” in The Daily Telegraph. Yes, Mercury phone boxes have finally been axed – and are unlikely to be missed.

And there’s even controversy about who designed them in the first place. The Pylon box is the most common, and back in 1988 DW credited architect Francis Machin and Terry Farrell with its design, as did the Telegraph last week. Yet Farrell states that he has “never designed a phonebox for Mercury”. So the buck passes to Machin.

But at least one kiosk will be preserved so future generations can gawp at this “comic-opera version of Post-Modern design” (Grange again). A museum near Bromsgrove, in the Midlands, will add the Pylon to its collection.

So that’s alright then. No need for the National Trust to worry.

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