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Tykho Radio

This is a radio. It is dated 1997 and we acquired it in 2013. Its medium is molded silicon rubber and abs plastic, electronic components. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Marc Berthier’s Tykho radio for Lexon has been noted in the mainstream and design presses, and in the consumer electronics marketplace, since its introduction in 1997, appearing in “Top Ten” design lists in United States magazines and newspapers. In 2000, Time magazine featured the radio on its March 20th cover, sitting in a round glass bowl filled with a few inches of water, above the headline, “The Rebirth of Design.” Text below the image read: “Function is out. Form is in. From radios to cars to toothbrushes, America is bowled over by style.” The reappearance of the Tykho radio across blogs and magazines in the last few years, coinciding with its 15th anniversary, is evidence of the Tykho’s lasting design impact.
The Tykho radio’s small, simple, monochromatic block-like form takes minimalism to an extreme. The water- and shock-resistant body is covered by a smooth, nearly seamless, injection-molded silicon rubber shell. Its radio functions are pared down to a bare minimum. There are no programmable channels, no earphone jack, no lighted dials or displays, and no handle. Tuning is achieved by rotating the short antenna on the top right. The composition of the radio’s functions and controls is organized and clear: the form is divided into two halves, the left dominated by the outline of a large circular speaker, the right home to small button-like volume and tuning controls. All these elements are center-aligned, which gives a visual balance to the radio’s face. Berthier’s visual and tactile cues for the user carry through to the design of the skin-like silicon rubber buttons, making the AM/FM switch two separate raised disks and the volume control a linked button, a subtle reminder that the former are distinct functions while the latter represents two ends of a range. The sleek severity of the Tykho radio’s form is relieved by its intense candy-like colors, including red, blue, yellow, white, and brown. The colors also serve as a reminder that the radio is ultimately a form of entertainment.
Designed in the years shortly before the advent of miniaturized digital music players, the Tykho would be a welcome addition in the category of radios and music players within the museum’s industrial design collection. At the time of proposed acquisition, this group includes table-top radios of the 1920s, transistor radios of the 1960s, and the game changing Apple iPod.
Further reading:
http://www.lexon tykho radio red.html
http://www.lexon content/uploads/2012/06/POMPIDOU 02.jpg,16641,20000320,00.html
William Lidwell and Gerry Manacsa, Deconstructing Product Design: Exploring the Form, Function, Usability, Sustainability, and Commercial Success of 100 Amazing Products (Beverly, MA: Rockport Publishers, 2009), 198-99.

This object was donated by Max Pine. It is credited Gift of Max Pine.

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Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 8.3 x 14 x 4.1 cm (3 1/4 x 5 1/2 x 1 5/8 in.)

Cite this object as

Tykho Radio; France; molded silicon rubber and abs plastic, electronic components; H x W x D: 8.3 x 14 x 4.1 cm (3 1/4 x 5 1/2 x 1 5/8 in.); Gift of Max Pine; 2013-6-1

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition The World of Radio.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Tykho Radio |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=4 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>