Radio Prototypes

PM_RDp(Db)080

1946

After more than 70 years, the Eames Office has collaborated with Vitra to revive one of Charles and Ray’s designs for a compact radio. Encased in an elegant walnut cabinet and equipped with up-to-date technology by the British manufacturer REVO, the Eames Radio today bears witness to the designer couple’s unwavering belief in progress. Available from Vitra in a limited edition of 999 units.

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A line of radio enclosures was among the postwar offspring of the plywood-molding process. Charles and Ray developed techniques for mass-producing plywood enclosures in significant numbers. They designed cabinet forms for manufacturers such as Bendix Corporation, Emerson Radio, Farnsworth Company, Hamilton Radio Corporation, Zenith Corporation, and many others.

In addition to the molded cases, which were made of birch and ash, the Eameses made cabinet fronts formed with a “dimpled” surface—a pattern initially used in the Case Goods storage system and then later in the Eames Storage Units. There was a functional purpose for doing this: The compound surface strengthened the panels and prevented them from warping.

Charles and Ray fabricated a wide variety of approximately 200,000 radio cabinets until 1952.