Transistor radio, plastic / metal / electrical components, made by Toshiba Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, 1957
Where this transistor radio exhibits little technical sophistication, it stands out for its startlingly different appearance to other Japanese radios from the preceding period. Toshiba¬?s Design Centre crew took the key design cue of the oriental (Japanese) interior and produced this plastic spherical flower basket transistor radio with more than a mild echo of traditional Japanese lacquer ware. A late 1950s penchant for westerners to orientalise their interiors provided a rich consumer base for this design, and it was a modestly successful product. The company, so pleased with this product, to exhibited the radio at Toshiba¬?s showcase in Ginza, Tokyo for some time.
There is no denying that a certain attraction to novelty might also have induced the purchase of this hand painted radio, but it must be said it is a most practical design. The centralised dial sits on top so that if the radio is placed in the centre of a table it can be operated and tuned from any direction. The speaker, mounted at the base of the sphere, is directed downwards, projecting sound toward the pedestal base, itself acoustically affable, affording audio in all directions.
Toward the late 1950s, Japanese designers had tended to follow their North American counterparts (the ¬?Cadillac¬? design school) conforming to popular taste by the judicious application of mock chrome trim to the casing of radios, televisions and refrigerators ¬? the flower basket sees Japanese designers breaking from this and forging new ground with very Japanese styling.
Campbell Bickerstaff, 2011
The transistor radio was designed and made by the Toshiba Corporation, Japan, 1957. Toshiba is a subsidiary company of Tokyo Shibaura Electrical Company Limited, Japan.