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    galessa's plastics, han 73, and 41 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. galessa's plastics 98 months ago | reply

      my collection lacks braun designs... I have to do something about it...

    2. Nite_Owl 65 months ago | reply

      By the mid 50s, the Braun Company hired some of the most prestigious German designers at the time for them to give a new look to their electric appliances, particularly their line of radio receivers.
      Among these designers were Fritz Eichler, Otl Aicher, Hans Gugelot and, at a later stage, Dieter Rams.
      All of them were disciples of the "Bauhaus" or its post-war succesor, the "Hochschule für Gestaltung", in Ulm.
      Many most interesting and innovative designs were created, in a revolutionary simple and clean style that was to become the trademark of the Braun company. Also, these designers developed a set of "ten commandments" of good design based on the concepts of functionality, honesty and beauty, and they proved all of these qualities can fit together into affordable, daily life objects which have the purpose of making our lives nicer and easier:
      - Good design is innovative.
      - Good design makes a product useful.
      - Good design is aesthetic.
      - Good design helps us to understand a product.
      - Good design is unobtrusive.
      - Good design is honest.
      - Good design is durable.
      - Good design is consequent to the last detail.
      - Good design is concerned with the environment.
      - Good design is as little design as possible.
      The SK 2 is an evolution of the SK 1, a radio receiver design developed by Fritz Eichler around 1955. To understand how unique this design was for its time we can just take a glance at other domestic radios in the mid or late 50s. The trend was generally based on the use of rounded, aerodynamic shapes, in wooden or bakelite cabinets which often incorporated shiny chrome or brass fittings. That sort of thing was "in", it was trendy and elegant, it was the idea of luxury (real or imaginary) materialized in an object that would grace your living room or studio at a time when radio was still more important than TV for news, entertainment or education. Preferred colors were generally dark. Sometimes lively greens or reds (particularly with the advent of plastics). Many of those radios looked like small chapels, or Greek temples in miniature. Or like cakes. Some had inherited the grand style of the radios of the 1930s, which often looked like tombstones in shape, had bulky, cabinets built with fine woods, intricate arabesque work and rich golden cloth covering the loudspeaker. Hey, owning a good radio in the 1930s was only possible for the "affluent few". Some radios back in the 50s still made reference to Art Deco, which in the late 20s and the 30s so much influenced radio design and about everything else. There was something of romantic, funky or plain baroque in most radios of the 1950s and 60s; perhaps not too much of an innovation since the days before WWII.
      Enter Eichler and his buddies, with a totally different view of things, breaking away from the past and, indeed, making a point about "modernity". No more references to the old days. Careful with the coloring of things. Make them white, if you can, or show the beauty of the wood but be honest about it, and don't exaggerate. Aluminum is cool too. It is not too expensive, it is "modern" in many ways and Germany has it in large quantities. Innovate electronics and make sure your radios sound good in FM, because that is "the thing". It is new and exciting, And, by all means, do establish a new dialog with your potential client. Make him feel rich, perhaps, but most of all make him feel special. Modern, intelligent, sophisticated, whatever.
      Eichler's approach does indeed introduce a new simplicity that just wasn't in the scene before. We may well call this "minimalism" in the (ab)used, nowadays' meaning of the word. And that was to be the trade mark of the Braun Company products for quite many years to come.
      The spartan front panel of the SK2 consists of a perforated grille, a rotatable dial which works as frequency selector, an on-off volume control and a switch to change from AM to FM. The cabinet is white-lacquered wood.
      The owner is not left to guess too much about the purpose and the functions of the object. Everything is pretty much obvious, intuitive and simple in this radio. Kind of self-evident, I guess. No "fancy stuff" in it and yet, a fascinating little thing whose sophistication resides in its very simplicity. Must have been quite a "shock" when it first came out, for ideas and tastes never change sharply, and this one was very, very different to what there was before. Some of a historical first in the world of industrial design.
      This particular example is a present I received a few months ago from a dear friend who knows how crazy I am for these things. He bought it in Germany, where the radio had apparently seen very little use these last fifty years. The radio has just been checked and tested (see pictures), works flawlessly and has a beautiful, warm sound.

    3. galessa's plastics 65 months ago | reply

      I like Braun designs very much ALTHOUGH I do not subscribe to the whole of UfG Ulm's functionalist / rationalist design philosophy. As a matter of fact, I believe they went much too far. =)
      By the way, I just bought the book "Ulm design: the morality of objects". Simply amazing!
      Since I first commented on this pic I managed to add other early UfG Ulm's contribution to Braun to my collection. Check it out:
      Braun Exporter Radio, 1956

    4. The Bill Hughes Gazette 63 months ago | reply

      Nice radio. How does it sound?

    5. Nite_Owl 63 months ago | reply

      Sound is very nice indeed, though only after an overhaul of the electronics... Guess this radio had been sleeping for too many years, and that is not good for valve equipment.

    6. jon_mutch 50 months ago | reply

      Nite_Owl, do you know if there are replacement parts kicking around for this radio? I just picked one up and it doesn't have the grey tuning ring, or the proper knobs on the front.

    7. Nite_Owl 49 months ago | reply

      Hi Jon, I haven't seen any parts out there... I have seen quite a few SK2s on eBay though, in different conditions and ranging from extremely cheap to quite expensive. I guess your best way forward is buying one of the cheaper ones on eBay, just for for parts. What I do have is a repro of the dial I created with AutoCAD some time ago which you can download here: farm6.static.flickr.com/5091/5506752923_049ac410ed_o.jpg
      If your dial is damaged and you print my file on a thin cardboard with a decent printer the result will be stunning on your SK2.

    8. jon_mutch 49 months ago | reply

      Thanks so much! I took a picture of the radio, it's on my page. I bought the radio for $20, so I'm not complaining! :D

      Just wish it had the dial. I might fabricate up something, as I have access to a laser cutter through my university.


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