Tape Recorder

Mario Bellini                    1975                    Tape Deck

Before the internet, what did you do when you wanted to listen to music? Yes, you played it again, Sam. Something you had recorded before. For example, on a cassette tape recorder. When the world’s largest manufacturer of musical instruments from Japan decided to beef up the quality of the slightly flawed technology of cassette tapes, it asked this Italian design genius to create something unusual and spectacular. He thought about how the product would be used. Wanting to preclude that this device would vanish in a stack of boxy audio devices popular at the time, he ingeniously gave it a wedge shape. This facilitated easier operation when sitting or standing in front of the device. A collapsible foot in the back allowed two positions – with the front slanted or with the button panel horizontal. The buttons and displays were laid out in a look reminiscent of a sound recording studio and thus evocative of professional and high quality music. Predating a cool Eighties’s style, monochrome with edgy details, the creator proved yet again to be ahead of the game. It was a remarkable product that drew attention, and its distinctive form language made it an instant design classic.

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