02
Mar
09

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.

ts502

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.

brionvega_ts502_schema1

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.

3131311436_6f8f8d67aa

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

4f37_1_sbl

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-502

TS-505

TS-522 (new)


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