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This iconic piece of 1960s tech is being re-released by MoMA

This iconic piece of 1960s tech is being re-released by MoMA
[Photo: courtesy MoMA]

In 1965, architect and designer Marco Zanuso created a tall, narrow radio called the Grattacielo–Italian for skyscraper. The radio, the result of a collaboration with designer Richard Sapper for the Italian electronics company Brionvega, became an influential piece of design from the era. The radio, along with other electronics the duo designed, “became enduring icons of the sleek, minimalist style known as techno-functionalism,” according to Zanuso’s 2001 obituary in the Los Angeles Times.

[Photo: courtesy MoMA]
Now, an exclusive, vibrant orange re-release of the Grattacielo radio is available at the MoMA Design Store as part of the spring collection. But while the exterior is similar to Zanuso’s original and the radio still plays FM channels, the guts are decked out with new technology, including Bluetooth that allows you to play whatever music you want from your phone. That makes the Grattacielo something of a hybrid radio-speaker.

The re-release, manufactured by Brionvega, was also designed with modern uses in mind: you can plug it in, or power it with a rechargeable lithium battery, which makes it portable. Plus, not everyone has the space for a speaker that’s 11 inches tall, so this design can be oriented either vertically or horizontally–if you turn it sideways, you get the added benefit of seeing the FM radio numbers highlighted in a cool retro typeface.

The Grattacielo can also function as an alarm clock with snoozing options, a convenient way to leave your phone outside your bedroom (which can help you get more sleep and reduce your screen time). Zanuso has 15 designs in MoMA’s permanent collection, including a 1951 chair and 1962 television set, many of which were also manufactured by Bionvega.

The Grattacielo Radio Speaker is available online and in-store for $199.

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