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IdcN Collection Exhibition Series vol.24
Electric Media: The Age of Radio

The International Design Center NAGOYA houses a collection of American design products from the Art Deco period of the 1930s. In the history of 20th century design, such American design products had a major influence on Japanese industrial design. The collection includes over 2,000 pieces, including graphic art works, furniture, tableware, and a wide array of products that featured in all aspects of people’s lives. Our Collection Exhibition Series showcases works from the collection based on a theme selected for each show.

IdcN Collection Exhibition Series vol.24
Electric Media: The Age of Radio

In the United States, with the development of mechanical technology, communication means developed, and radio was overwhelmingly supported as a new media in the 1920s. In 1929, Edwin Howard Armstrong invented the FM radio that is less susceptible to noise and noise interference, and the sound quality had significantly improved compared to the AM radio. At the same time, broadcast content that had a large number of administrative notices and product advertisements had gradually increased strong entertainment colors: comedy, quizzes, dance, bands, light music, etc.
In the Great Depression due to the US economic deterioration, people have found bright hope for music from the radio that flows in the city. The interest and purchase willingness of radio to enjoy at home increased rapidly. The household penetration of radio, which was less than 10% in 1925, is said to have reached 85% in the 1930s.
Around this time, new features and materials developed with remarkable technological advances were introduced into the radio and attractive products were produced one after another by product designers. Also, in the entertainment field, movies with radio-based audio appeared, and the introduction of electronic sound brought about major innovations that led to talkie films. Including radio-drama appearances of movie actors, the movie-radio partnership had been strengthened, and in the early 1930s, radio fan magazines such as “Radio Star” were launched and “Radio City” with the NBC studio for radio broadcasting were built. Radio has established itself as a major culturally influential media.

In this exhibition, focusing on radios produced in the 1930s and 40s, we will display a total of about 60 works and materials, including other works of the product designers who designed these radios, and related materials to introduce the social background of those days such as movies and music that had become the cornerstone of rapid growth of entertainment business.


FADA Model 1000 Catalin “Bullet” Radio Globe Radio
FADA Model 1000 Catalin “Bullet” Radio/Year: 1941/Manufacturer: FADA (Left)
Globe Radio/Year: 1935/Designer: Raymond Loewy/Manufacturer: Colonial (Right)

Arwin Radio, Temple Radio Sparton Circle Radio
Arwin Radio/Year: 1946/Manufacturer: Arwin, Temple Radio/Era: Early 1940s/Manufacturer: Temple (Left)
Sparton Circle Radio/Year: 1936/Designer: Walter Dorwin Teague, Sr./Manufacturer: Sparks-Withington (Right) 

RADIO STARS RCA Radio Music Inspires
RADIO STARS (Cover page)/Issue: July,1933/Publisher: Dell Publishing Co. (Left)
Magazine Advertisement “RCA Radio”/Year: 1941 (Center)
Poster “Music Inspires”/Year: 1942/Designer: James Axelrod (Right)

Venue(s) Design Gallery
4th Fl., Design Center Bldg., 18-1, Sakae 3-chome, Naka-ku, Nagoya, 460-0008 Japan


Date(s) Sat., August 24 2019 - Sun., September 22 2019
12:00 - 19:00
Closed Tuesdays
Admission Free

International Design Center NAGOYA Inc.

Related content(s) IdcN Collection Exhibition Series

IdcN Collection Exhibition Series vol.24
Electric Media: The Age of Radio (Flyer image)