1. A person or thing that closely resembles another; ringer
Dead Ringers investigates an obvious and particular aspect of character in architecture: anthropomorphism. The project focuses on Stockholm’s urban booths—small, figurative buildings that are deeply ingrained in public consciousness. These kinds of buildings are a current concern simply because they are becoming extinct. Some, like phone booths, are rapidly being removed because of technological shifts. Others are threatened because they are at odds with prevailing ideals for public spaces, like transparency and openness. Dead Ringers critically turns this tendency into new opportunities. It proposes to selectively replace removed booths with mysterious near-copies that provide similar types of enclosed public spaces, without the narrow functional focus of phone and photo booths. These strangely familiar figures are a play on the proportions and iconic nature of Stockholm’s existing urban booths. Their dark but vaguely humorous silhouettes acknowledge the ambiguous character of most urban booths: as bright beacons of technology, but also as houses for a variety of shady activities of private nature.
Most if not all of Stockholm’s urban booths are immediately recognizable as small figures in the urban fabric. At the turn of the last century, some models featured shingle-clad pitched roofs and slender legs, while more recent ones are monolithic, rectilinear volumes made from formed metal panels. What ties them all together, despite stylistic differences, is the fact that they all have been shaped after the human body that they are supposed to house. Their anthropomorphic features include vertical proportions, symmetry, and a clear division into base, enclosure, and roof. Each Dead Ringer tweaks these ideal proportions and perfects symmetries of historical booths, recasting them as imperfect and multivalent individuals.
Project Design: Norell/Rodhe
Photograph: Mikael Olsson
Drawings and collages: Norell/Rodhe