The Sound of Modern Architecture Through Radio!
If modern architecture had a voice, it would be heard from a
1958 Le Corbusier Radiola Model RA248-A!
Le Corbusier is one the world's most renown architects of the twentieth century. His vision and designs have transformed our landscape and how we live our lives.
The Radiola Model RA248-A was made in France in 1958 at the time of the World Expo in Brussels Belgium. It is a four vacuum tube super heterodyne receiver for broadcast, long and shortwave frequencies.
A completely fresh and novel design by any standards. It is different from all other radio designs. And timeless. Ask any person who doesn't know, and they might guess this radio was made in the '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s or even recently.
At a time when other manufacturers were trying to outdo each other with bolder, interesting and modern concepts, this Radiola succeeds in outdoing everyone. It is an object of beauty unto itself, whether or not as a radio, but as an art object or modern sculpture.
The real innovation displayed in this design is its non-orthogonal asymmetry. It's like you took the radio and put it in a vise until it was slightly contorted out of shape.
The non-planar themes are repeated in details like the Radiola logo bottom edge and center grill peak which makes the grill look like its sunken inward from the front outer edges.
The Radiola letters are successively thicker from the first letter R to the last letter A giving the appearance of an angled perspective.
The tuning dial glass is angled outward at the bottom. The conical knobs are stacked and ergonomically shaped for easy use. For Americans, the various European countries across the dial offer additional intrigue. Someday, if we are able to add stations from Mars, Jupiter and beyond, this is the radio I would want to do it on!
The triangular pilot light adds a prismatic dimension like the lighting comes from a scientific crystal.
The front two slender metal legs makes the object seem light in weight like it is levitating.
Under different lighting conditions, the radio continues to exhibit nuances. Like the bottom front trapezoidal corners angled inward lessening the appearance of overall bulkiness.
The view from the back shows the exaggerated peak outward of the front ivory top corner. The heat vents are practical horizontal slats.
The bottom of the front bezel shows a variety of intersecting angles as it resolves the fit the back cover edges.
Even though Le Corbusier's name is so saliently associated with this radio, let's not forget the vision of Radiola which commissioned the design. At any point during concept, design, engineering, manufacturing and executive approval, Radiola decision makers could have shot down the idea and this radio would have perhaps not seen the light of day.
Here's a Radiola RA248-A in ivory (below). Also available Bordeux burgundy and ivory (not pictured).