Cuboglass TV

TV as sculpture?

The Brionvega Cuboglass TV was designed by Mario Bellini based on a re-work of the ST 201 from 1969.

Brionvega ST201, as seen in Cold War Modern at the V&A

Brionvega ST201, as seen in Cold War Modern at the V&A

h1256-l05845570_th1The ST 201 was a Zanuso/Sapper design made with semi-transparent black acrylic, metal. It came with an ochre felt cover, cream plastic protection, carrying cover and two detachable aerials (References: The New Domestic Landscape Achievements and Problems of Italian Design, The Museum of Modern Art, exhibition catalogue, New York/Florence, 1972, p. 69; Kathryn B. Hiesinger, Design since 1945, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, exhibition catalogue, 1983, p. 96, 1- 54; Alfonso Grassi, Anty Pansera, Atlante del Design Italiano 1940/1980,, Milano, 1984, p. 118, ill. no. 2In 1992).  It is now a collector’s item and occassionally pops up at auctions.

In colaboration with Brionvega, Bellini has made a completely new TV.  The Cuboglass’s effect is achieved by the perfect crafting. It quickly became a classic, and is on permanent display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

In 1992, when the Cuboglass was introduced, it featured the then latest electronics, and it’s been gradually updated since. It is now housed in an anti-scratch cabinet of crystal glass faces connected by slim perforated metal plates, and the facetuous cut is absolutely sheer. Inside, it features a black matrix tube for an impressive picture, a broadband loudspeaker, digital frequency synthesiser, cable tuner and 100 storable programmes, SVHS, and SCART , measures 38.2cm x 34.4cm x 38.5cm and weighs 19 kg so it is not exactly portable though intended to be.  It retails for about 1000 Euros or  $1200 but is mostly sold out.



Other Brionvegas



Algol TV

fernseher-90x90Founded in Milan in 1945,  Brionvega specialized in manufacturing TV sets. Giuseppe Brion and engineer friend Pajetta created a brand that has proven to withstand the test of time. Brionvega products became cult objects. The TVs are in the permanent collection of international museums including MoMA.  The Algol TV which I like best,  was designed in 1964 by the the Italian Marco Zanuso and his German colleague Richard Sapper, who between them produced a string of enduring products for Brionvega in the 1960s using new miniaturised circuitry.  brionvega-algol-tv-lg7

The Algol TV was considered by some, such as Flavio Manzoni, VW’s Creative Design Director, an “everlasting artwork”, and I agree!

Algol (1964) at the Richard Sapper Exhibit in Cologne Furniture Fair '05

Algol (1964) at the Richard Sapper Exhibit in Cologne Furniture Fair '05

This little portable, plastic-cased TV set is shaped so that its screen tilts upwards slightly. The front of it is just the screen — no knobs, buttons or speakers or any kind of surround whatsoever. All the incidental stuff is mounted on the top or sides. A telescopic aerial sprouts from near the front, rather than the back as is more normal, while a hinged metal carrying handle is cranked to fit snugly into the bend at the top of the box.

It sits there on stumpy pads like a cheerful little spaceship, nowadays as well-equipped electronically as any new TV. What gives away its age is the bulbous square-format screen — this object first emerged decades before flat, wide screens became the norm.

Specifically, the original Algol 11″ was a black and white television that came in three colors: bright sun orange, black night, and moon gray.  The metal retractable handle is a hallmark (shared by the TS-503 radio I should mention) that makes this a portable set. The TV receives VHF and UHF signals and uses a one meter extractable rod antenna for the VHF and a 19.5cm circlular antenna for UHF.  It is also possible to connect to an external aerial.  Power is either AC (125 – 16- =220) or via 12V DC.  Dimension is 26 x 22 x 31cm and it comes in at 7.6kg.


There was an Algol 2 version in 1966.


A new Algol (also known as Algol 11R, 1989) surfaced in around the late 80s, and an Algol 11″ and came in red, black, grey, white cabinets in washable material and a sight-saving lens, a black matrix picture tube, and an anti-reflective screen.  It had a remote.

algol3It also has a broadband loudspeaker, headphones output, up to five video pre-defined settings and 100 storable programs, 8 page memory teletext, multifunctional remote control, digital frequency synthesizer, hyperband and cable tuner , PAL – NTSC by SCART – in option: PAL- SECAM L – NTSC by SCART – AST automatic search – video input: SCART, SVHS, A/V. Size is slightly larger than the original: 27.5 x 26.1 x 35.8cm.  Weight is almost the same at 7.5kg. The price then was 600-750 Euros and this set is no longer in stock or in production.  I am lucky to have acquired a number of these in black as well as white and in new old stock condition.


In August 2006, the Brionvega brand was acquired by Super//Fluo SpA, and Algol was given another life again. being reissued in limited numbered editions.

In Apr 2007, the Triennale di Milano Design Museum hosted the “TV with Love” Exhibition presented by Super//Fluo SpA, on the occasion of the Salone di Mobile to mark this episode of return of the classic Brionvega design.



Now, what can be found is the Algol 3 TV is made from new electronics, using the latest generation of digital components, all packed into a design from the 60s. The Algol TV comes in 3 different colors – Sun Orange, Snow White, and Night Black.

algolimited There is also a military green colored numbered military edition that is on the market with 99 preset channels, Teletext, Scart and SVHS connectors and a 10-inch cinescope screen. It goes for a whopping 1800 Euros retail.


Algol 11R

Algol 3

Different Algol’s from the Back


Algol 11R 1989

The Algol 11"

The Algol 11"

Algol 3 12"

Algol 3 12" 1990s

Old original Algols can be found for

New Old Stock Algols from the ’90s and early 2000’s can be had for about $500 (I have some, contact me if interested)

Algol 2’s

Algol 3’s brand new retail for

The numbered edition in a miltary green colour, with details of its number and heritage etched on the side by laser marking sells for 1,800 Euros (7.08).


TS502 >TS505 > TS512 > TS522

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

TS 502 (1964) by Zanuso & Sapper for Brionvega

TS 502 (1964) by Zanuso & Sapper for Brionvega

SOME BACKGROUND: 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.

The “Radio Cubo” cube radio TS-502 and 505 are by Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper, who have designed for Mercedes Benz and IBM. The radio is a cult design and a 60s icon object, a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The TS-502 is an am/fm 2 band radio. Inside it there are two receivers with the shared Audio Frequency circuit. The radio looks like a double cube form, realized with two ABS plastic boxes. 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.


The TS-505 is a tri-band radio with AC and DC power and is made in Italy in the 1970s.  Specs are online at the radiomuseum site.  I think the faceplate design on the right (See Below) is not as beautiful as the TS-502, but this is probably a rarer model.


I acquired mine recently (Eb135) in the US, it was white but is toned by age and now has a creamy white appearence:


ts522dis1TS 522 is a modern reissued ts 502 (2001) and is still widely available ( at Conran’s for example).  It comes in Sun Orange, Snow White, Night Black and Red. 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. Dimensions are H: 13 cm , D: 13 cm , L: 23 c, Weight: 2200. Retail about 250 Euros.

Recent Values:



TS-522 (new)

March 2023