The hit American TV series Mad Men has inspired us to look to the retro-styling of the 1950s and 1960s in our fashion and our interiors.
And now, the Mad Men effect has come to our technology. Family-owned British company Ruark Audio, renowned for its elegant designs, has now created an up-to-date version of the radiogram.
A portmanteau of radio and gramophone, radiograms reached the peak of their popularity in the post-war era.
Available from autumn 2013, the Ruark R7 brings a very modern twist to a retro concept. A design icon in the making, it has regular FM, DAB and DAB+ tuners with external aerial input. There’s also a slot-loading CD player at the front. It plays standard and MP3 discs and, for those who wish to stream music wirelessly, there’s Bluetooth with aptX for direct streaming from smartphones and tablets, and DLNA Wi-Fi for streaming from external devices.
But, even if you aren’t playing any music on it, the Ruark 7 is such a beautiful item of furniture, it’s sure to prove a talking point.
Ruark describes its new piece of kit as “the radiogram redefined”. The firm says it has been “inspired by 60’s contemporary design,” adding: “The R7 is our latest iconic piece. With stunning looks and amazing audio quality, it’s a revolutionary music centre in the true spirit of the classic radiogram, which we believe will reignite people’s passion for music and radio.”
The unit weighs in at 30kg and measures 175 x 1000 x 400mm so it’s certainly not designed to fade into the background. It looks best when stood atop the distinctive black spindle legs it is supplied with, but these can be removed and replaced with smaller feet if the R7 is to sit on existing furniture, or perhaps a retro-style sideboard.
Engineers at Ruark have been working to develop the new mix of cabinetry and technology for three years. The company says it aims to “design products that appeal to the heart as much as the head”.
Since launching its first product in November 2006, Ruark’s models have quickly become known as modern-day design classics, gaining critical acclaim for their elegant design and outstanding sound quality.
Tatler magazine described the R1 as “simply the most beautiful radio in the world” and the R7 is expected to be similarly applauded.
Crafted from walnut, glass and aluminium, the Ruark R7 is expected to cost in the region of £2,000.But, it will be a stand-out piece for any living or dining room and Ruark say it will stand the test of time.
“The end result,” says the firm, “is a music system that defies expectation and like radiograms of old, we believe that the R7 is a product which you, your family and friends will enjoy for many years to come.”
A statement piece of design, with its rich wood hues, curved corners and retro-style spindle legs, the R7 truly does look stylish enough to grace the home of Joan Harris, or Don Draper himself.