Andrea Tyrimos paints telephone box on Southampton Row to create public art statement on air pollution

A month in the making and a disused telephone box on Southampton Row in Holborn has received a street art makeover courtesy of fine artist Andrea Tyrimos.

Part of a project with Public Space Jam to reclaim and re-imagine the uses of these iconic telephone boxes, it was at one stage, destined to be removed by BT prior to the idea of turning it into an eye-catching piece of public art.

Painted vines draped over the top, hang down from the box as if nature has come into the city and reclaimed its environment.  Foliage  at the bottom brings in elements of Andreas experiences from travels in the far east.

Andrea Tyrimos Southampton row
Andrea Tyrimos on Southampton Row with her living box

Inside the box, a constellation of stars can be seen through the glass.  They represent what would be seen from Holborn if it was actually possible to cut through the haze and pollution of London  and see into the night sky.  On the back of the box, a climbing garden provided by Tree box to give some urban greening.

We’ve covered Andrea’s work a number of times here on Inspiring City.  A fine artist in the main she has gained a reputation for work on the street but also for using techniques most normally reserved for the studio.  Such is the detail she adds into her work, the living box project took a month to complete which would be okay in the warmth of a studio but when the studio is the street in January it might well become a labour of love.

Now the finished piece is a popular addition to landscape in the heart of London with a number of people stopping to take photographs in just the short time we were there.  To hear more about the living box project check out the Inspiring City podcast for an exclusive interview with Andrea about the project.

We visited Andrea on 24 January 2016 to take some works in progress and 5 March 2016 to see the finished piece and to record the Inspiring City podcast.  You can see more of Andreas previous work by reading about her #brick project and by checking out an Inspiring City interview from her first solo show here.

Living box gallery

Andrea tyrimos
Working on Southampton Row
andrea tyrimos
A busy street is not the normal location for a fine artist to paint
andrea tyrimos
Andrea in action
Andrea Tyrimos Southampton Row
Relaxing next to her finished piece
Andrea Tyrimos Southampton Row
Andrea next to the foliage garden attached to the box


  1. I did get to see the this artwork last week and it looks cool… My thoughts are that it’s a shame the telephone box has got a black background instead of the traditional red that we all love!!

  2. So pleased the plants have been restored. Such a shame it was vandaised last month. It now once again a joy to behold

  3. Just passed it on the 59 bus..outstanding and beautiful.natural foilage brings it to life!. so many boxes are in a state of disrepair its wonderful to see what can be done to bring them back to grandeur.Thank u Andrea..and thumbs down to the asshole that vandalised it..are you for real!!!

  4. What a wonderful idea Andrea to see your work, very imaginative and creative, so well done you.

    The structure connected to the telephone box holding the plants would be great for my small basement street flat.


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