Lonely Planet Writer

London's iconic tumbling telephone boxes sculpture has been refurbished

Visitors to London might be familiar with the Out of Order sculpture, best known as the 12 tumbling phone boxes in Kingston. This week, the iconic work of art by David Mach has been revealed after undergoing a renovation to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Artist David Mach with his Out of Order sculpture, Kingston Upon Thames. Image by David Parry

Just as the red phone box is an icon of Britain, the sculpture of 12 telephone boxes toppled over like dominoes is symbolic of Kingston. Located on Old London Road; home to many of the town’s quirky independent shops, bars and cafes, the sculpture has delighted visitors since its arrival in 1989. Appearing on numerous postcards and posters across the UK, the tourist landmark provides the perfect photo opportunity in the picturesque riverside town. In recent years the sculpture had fallen into disrepair but with the help of Kingston First business improvement district, Kingston Council and local companies, Out of Order was restored to its former glory.

The refurbishment was done to celebrate the sculpture’s 30th anniversary. Image by David Parry

Scottish artist David Mach is one of the UK’s most successful and respected artists, known for his dynamic and imaginative large scale collages, sculptures and installations worldwide. The former Turner Prize nominee said he was delighted to see his famous work celebrated once more. I’m very happy to see Out of Order being refurbished,” Mach said. “It’s one of my best outdoor sculptures I love these boxes and isn’t it funny that even in these times and although they were removed from the British landscape, I feel they still bind us as a nation.”

The sculpture has been a photo backdrop for tourists since 1989. Image by David Parry

Kingston celebrated the sculpture’s return last weekend with street entertainers and professional photographers on hand to take visitor photos with the sculpture for free. The sculpture is available to the public on Old London Road.