The Alexaphone is a fusion between the beautiful, architectural telephones of the past and the voice interfaces of the present. We love the style and craftsmanship of old telephones and wanted to give them new life, while simultaneously modifying modern tech to be more user-protective. The Alexaphones are also a critique on the tradeoff of convenience over privacy; the microphone is physically disconnected until you've picked up the handset.
We try to modify the original telephones as little as possible. We see the reviving process of each Alexaphone as a unique piece of art, requiring hours of repair, reconstruction, and creative engineering. They retain a weight and presence that we rarely experience in our modern, cost-optimized lives.
With the Alexaphone, you interact with Alexa through an interface that feels fundamentally human. It is a higher quality experience that also invites us to question our relationship with machines that can, at times, feel alive.
Richard Whitney & Christine Sunu
Our process begins with sourcing antique telephones with great form and materials. We look for phones that are in poor condition and non-functional, so we're not robbing the world of any beautiful, working units. When we receive them there's a tremendous amount of work sanding, polishing, repainting, and digging out cobwebs and dirt.
Another big task is figuring out how to fit the necessary electronics while leaving as much of the original mechanics and electronics intact. So far, we've been able to repair the original switches, rotary dialers, and earpieces, so you're feeling and hearing the phone the way it was when it was first made. The one external concession we've had to make is the 1/8" auxiliary jack, but we're hiding that away as best we can.
We've sold out of the initial three Alexaphones, but if you're interested you should place a reservation so you'll be in line for the next telephones.