CityRadio, designed by Emanuele Pizzolorusso for Italian design brand Palomar, allows you to access local radio around the world, with a simple – and satisfying – click of a physical button. It's a contemporary re-imagination of radio’s early history, where city names where displayed to identify frequencies. As travel looks to remain restricted for the time being, get your multicultural fix through the airwaves.
Of course, you can go online and access local radio anywhere fairly easily, but for Pizzolorusso, there's a certain romanticism to, and interconnection with, the act of listening physical object. ‘In my childhood home there was an old portable radio, one of those appliances that had the names of several European cities on the tuning dials – a feature from the time when one could still listen to stations from foreign countries,' explains the Italian designer, who is based in Helskinki. ‘The list of those places, which to me as a child appeared so mysterious and exotic, stimulated my imagination and gave that ordinary forgotten object a deep sense of magic.'
Press magnetic keys to access 18 different cities around the world – from Barcelona to Beijing, Nairobi to New York. The upper keys allow you to navigate through the stations of your chosen city, saving your favourite frequencies. The magnetic keys can be detached and combined as you like. A conscious decision was made by the designer to remove any kind of screen or touchscreen interface, in order the most accurately replicate the traditional radio experience.
Through nostalgic in tone, the technology involved is very much up to date. Download the accompanying app, which allows you to connect the radio to the Internet and to configure the city selection. As Pizzolorusso says, it's ‘an object that – in contemporary key – expresses the analogue flavor of the old devices.'
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Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees Wallpaper.com and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.
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