70's Portable BrionVega radio - Model TS505a
The TS 505a – also known as the “Cube” – is an unusual, portable transistor radio designed by Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper by the Milanese company Brion Vega. The TS 505a is a global icon of industrial design.
Brionvega is one of the more famous modern design firms responsible such icons as the radio “cube” TS502 from 1963, the Algol and Doney portable TV, and the radio-phonograph RR126
The “Radio Cubo” cube radio TS 502 and 505 are designed by Zanuso & Sapper for Brionvega. Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper, who have also designed for Mercedes Benz and IBM. The radio is a cult design and a 60s and 70s icon object. Thanks to its particularly functional and innovative design, it was, as such, chosen as an iconic object to be put on display in the most important contemporary art museums of the world. It can be found, for example, at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York as a part of the permanent collection.
The TS 505a is the 1975-1976 succedor of the TS 502 and is a more rarer model. The TS 505 is a tri-band radio with AC and DC power and is made in Italy in the 1970s. The legendary object looks like a double cube form, realized with two ABS plastic “valves” that make it look like a cuboid seashell: ready for your favorite radio program when open, off to rest when closed.
The receiver High Frequency section is inside the right box and the Audio section with the speaker is located on the left one. In the hinges, provided with appropriate grooves, pass the junction cables that connect the two boxes. The speaker is an Italian IREL and together with a well planned audio amplifier, it gives a “warm” and really pleasant sound. The power requirements are supplied by six 1.5 V batteries type C (or R14) for a total of 9 V dc. The dimensions are: 23 x 13 x 13 cm.
In 2001 the model was reissued and got the type number TS 522. It’s powered by a “Broadband Loudspeaker”, which is a fancy way of saying, a full-frequency speaker. Its in mono. There’s a headphone jack, and you’ll want to note the AC power only comes in 220v. You also might note the charming analog tune dials were retained. The radio has 29 presets.
1975 - 1976
Patented model Made in Italy
Red. It comes also in Sun Orange, Snow White and Night Black.
Very good condition
Internal power source: 6 batteries of 1.5 volts (battery operation)
External power source: power supply 220V. (extractable internal integrated cable)
Headphone jack, telescopic antenna
Dimensions in open position: 13 x 26 x 13 cm
Brionvega was founded in Milan by Giuseppe and Rina Brion, initially commencing as a radio manufacturer before moving into the production of televisions a decade later. However, design played only a minimal role in the company’s profile until the early 1960s when designers of the calibre of Mario Bellini, Achille and Piergiacomo Castiglione, and Richard Sapper became involved in creating a distinctive, technologically sophisticated aesthetic for the firm’s products. Characteristically innovative television designs for the company included Italy’s first transistorized TV, the compact Doney set of 1962. This was followed by the 1964 Algol and 1969 Black ST 201 televisions by Macro Zanuso and Sapper, a clean-formed minimalist cube that only came to life when the set was switched on.
Rather more playful was the Castiglioni Brothers’ RR 126 stereo system of 1964, which opened out to reveal its controls. Other well-known designs included Bellini’s TVC 26 stereo system of 1970. However, during the 1980s design no longer enjoyed the high corporate priority of previous decades and the company was wound up in 1992.