Suzuki—an artist who explores sound, interaction, and electronics—was a designer in residence at the Design Museum London in 2012 and built the Tube Radio during his tenure.
“I wanted to make consumer electronics more comprehensible; printed circuit boards used to be rather simple affairs but with today’s electronic ‘black-boxes’ it is hard to get one’s head around what goes on inside an iPad or laptop,” Suzuki says.
To inform the design, Suzuki referenced a 1933 drawing of the London Tube map by Harry Beck. Coming full circle, it was an electronics diagram that influenced Beck’s now-iconic map. “It was one of the best infographics,” Suzuki says.
Suzuki interprets stations as circuits and track lines as conductors. He inserts a little wit into the project by placing the radio’s speaker at Marble Arch, the station closest to Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park.
The Tokyo-based design brand E&Y just released a limited-edition version of the piece that retails for about $200. The handsome radio is fully functional and can pick up a signal if you’re bored with streaming services (or forgot what static sounds like). It’s a win for graphic design and electronics fans alike.DB