The market has demonstrated that there's demand for vinyl LPs. In this age of preconfigured playlists, is there also nostalgia for live radio broadcasts? London-based design studio Industrial Facility (a/k/a Sam Hecht and Kim Colin) thinks so.
"Radio behaves inherently differently to playing from pre-defined playlists – it is generated from broadcast media and is generally unexpected content," the duo write. "For many, this is why radio is like a re-assuring 'real-time' companion in the workshop, bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. A lot of the music that gets onto personal playlists is heard first on radio."
"Radio technology has moved from analog to digital to internet broadcasting, and these three platforms continue to exist simultaneously – for the time being at least. In collaboration with British radio company Pure, we designed a standalone radio that works with all three of these platforms and provides simple control and usability."
Here's the radio in question, the Evoke, which comes in three sizes: The portable, totable Evoke Play…
…and the larger Evoke Home, the latter being "a great alternative to a classic Hi-Fi system while offering audio content from Spotify Connect, international Radio stations, DAB+ or your private CD collection." (The Home has a slot in the top that takes discs.)
In addition to tuning three types of radio, all of the units work as Bluetooth speakers. To navigate between functions, there's a small screen on each model. Pleasingly, it flips down and disappears when not needed, turning the device into the discreet box it's supposed to be. With so many electronic objects that compete for our attention (including routers, which I find especially ridiculous), I'm a fan of designing devices specifically to live in the background.
The volume control has a subtle illuminated ring, making it easy to spot when you're looking for it, but otherwise not drawing attention.
The six honest-to-god physical, tactile buttons below the volume control can be used for presets, regardless of which form of radio you're listening to. Why just six? "There are over 85,000 internet radio stations," writes Industrial Facility, "and we acknowledge that we rarely change stations."
I couldn't get prices to load for me on Evoke's website, perhaps because I'm in the 'States and this appears to be an EU/UK market product, but this appears to be available for sale (over there).