The market has demonstrated that there is a demand for vinyl records. In the age of pre-made playlists, is there also the nostalgia for live radio broadcasts? London design studio Industrial Facility (a/k/a Sam Hecht and Kim Colin) thinks so.
“Radio inherently behaves differently than playing from predefined playlists – it’s generated from broadcast media and is usually unexpected content,” the duo write. “For many, this is why the radio is like a reassuring ‘real-time’ companion in the workshop, bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. Much of the music that ends up on playlists first heard on the radio.”
“Radio technology has moved from analogue to digital to internet broadcasting, and these three platforms continue to exist simultaneously – for now at least. Together with British radio company Pure, we have designed a stand-alone radio that works with all three platforms and offers simple control and usability.”
Here is the radio in question, the Evoke, which comes in three sizes: The portable, the totable Bring up the game…
…the size of a shelf Evoke Spot…
…and the biggest Evoke the house, the latter being “an excellent alternative to a classic Hi-Fi system while offering audio content from Spotify Connect, international radio, DAB+ or your private CD collection”. (The Home has a slot in the top that takes discs.)
In addition to tuning three radio types, all units function as Bluetooth speakers. To navigate between the functions, there is a small screen on each model. Pleasantly, it folds up and out of sight when not needed, turning the device into the unobtrusive box it was meant to be. With so many electronics vying for our attention (including routers, which I find particularly ridiculous), I’m a fan of designing devices specifically designed to live in the background.
The volume control has a subtle light ring, which makes it easy to spot when you’re looking for it, but doesn’t attract attention.
The six decent physical touch buttons below the volume control can be used for presets no matter what form of radio you’re listening to. Why only six? “There are over 85,000 Internet radio stations,” writes Industrial Facility, “and we recognize that we rarely change stations.”
I couldn’t get a price to load for me on the Evoke website, maybe because I’m in the US and this seems to be an EU/UK market product, but it seems to be available for sale (over there).