With the advent of the mobile, the humble home telephone has suffered a profound drop in popularity. In comparison to its sleek and flighty cousin, the telephone sits in ponderous solitude, leashed to the wall by a cord, frightening all those who venture near with a dearth of caller ID. Dust forms around the buttons, bills go unpaid, and on the occasions it does ring out, the abrupt chirrup heralds not a call from a long lost friend, but an unrequested offer of cheaper home insurance. With great sadness, surely it is time to sound the death knell for the telephone as we knew it. Or perhaps not, for this week has seen a unanimous Loves victory for a stunning set of marble telephones chosen by Tish Wrigley.
Entirely unique, these beautiful phones are the work of set designer Clementine Keith-Roach. Formerly assistant to Shona Heath, where she worked with the likes of Tim Walker and Paolo Roversi, she was recently selected as one of Selfridges’ Bright Young Things of 2013. Marble was the central inspiration for the window display and capsule collection she created for the store, which also included a blind, lamps and a stunning water cooler. She says, “I am obsessed by the transformative quality of marble. An ancient raw material carved into polished Renaissance pillars and exquisite emotive figures, and synonymous today with a sheikh's bathroom, a Californian mansion, a financier's office. I liked the idea of using the illusion of set design to recreate elements of these environments with a surreal twist.” Other projects include shoots for Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton and a recent editorial for Dazed & Confused – “I created a set which was supposed to feel like an acid trip; we used a semi-circle of old fun house mirrors on a pool on a Lynchian red carpet.” A blend of the romantic, the beautiful and the slightly odd, Keith-Roach’s work is both thought provoking and a visual delight – each new world the product of the designer’s expansive imaginative universe. But it’s not over between her and marble just yet: “My dream is to design a London bar with a long mother of pearl bar and marble telephones to take bookings.”
"Marble: an ancient raw material carved into polished Renaissance pillars and exquisite emotive figures, and synonymous today with a sheikh's bathroom, a Californian mansion, a financier's office"
Here, having got the lowdown from the telephones' designer, we talk to Wrigley about why she was inspired to love these marbled phones, and ask her to remember the best call of her life.
Why did you choose to Love these telephones?
They are so beautiful – I think Alexander Graham Bell would far rather his legacy be preserved in marble over an iPhone.
Where would you keep one if you had it?
By the bed for languorous, late night conversations.
What's the best phone call you've ever had?
All those ones which start for no reason and last for hours without either of you noticing.
What's your preferred form of communication?
What's your favourite phone moment in film?
Any one which involved a telephone with a ridiculously long cord – if it ended with a laborious tripping-over-the-cord joke, all the better.
What's the last thing you bought?
A week in New York.