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"Japan" Tag


Panasonic Toot-A-Loop R-72


Friday, October 26, 2018

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‘It’s an S it’s an O, it’s a crazy radio! Toot-A-Loop!’ that was the phrase of the famous transistor radio called the Toot-A-Loop. The Toot-A-Loop… We both got mesmerized by this yellow thing that was laying behind glass in the Stedelijk Base and we knew that this was the piece that we wanted to do research on. At first we thought it was a weird mobile device, later on we read that it was a transistor radio, a transistor radio where the designer was unknown from, something that made us even more curious.

Because of the fact we speak different languages, we decided at first to do our online reseach seperate, Philipphine did it in french and Sena in english. We were curious about the fact if the results in the browser would be different because of the language. We soon saw that the information was almost identical so we decided to do the research in one language.

Our research began with first going on Google, we typed in Toot-A-Loop and Google gave us a lot of links and pictures of the radio, the first link that popped up was Wikipedia, of course.

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This information about the Toot-A-Loop that Wikipedia gave us was comparable on almost every website, there was nothing more, nothing less.

After Wikipedia we went to the websites of different museums, almost every museum website was disappointing, because they didn’t had a lot of information about the object, they all got a picture of their own Toot-A-Loop with a short text (or no text!) about when it was made etc. but nothing more. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam gave us some book references, something that we could definitely use later.


The many pictures on Google were linked to auction sites and even Marktplaats (the ‘Dutch Ebay’)  we saw that a lot of people were selling their old Toot-A-Loop or already sold them, so there is still a lot of interest in the radio, it hasn’t lost its popularity. The selling price of the radio was quite various,  for example on Marktplaats the radio would be sold for around 30 euros, but on the auction sites it would cost around 100 euros.

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We also found youtube videos, videos where people were most the time trying to explain how the radio works, we noticed that the videos were quite recent and that the people who commented under the videos were most of the time talking about how they would (and still love) the radio, so a lot of people from earlier generations.

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After long clicking, link after link, (it must have been the last Google search page) one of us ended on this Italian radio website where we finally found some new information about the radio, they  mentioned the name of the designer, somebody called ‘J.M. Willmin’, after reading this we started to Google the name of this designer, the only information about the designer that Google gave us was linked to the Toot-A -Loop. Later on we found an antique website where they were also talking about J.M. Willmin as the designer of the Toot A Loop, we sent them an email with the question where they got there information from, this is what they answered

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We think that the name J.M. Willmin was made up by Panasonic  so the radio would sell better abroad (in countries like the US and UK),  this is probably why we couldn’t find anything about this designer.

After our online research we went to the library of the Stedelijk Museum and the library of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, thanks to the book references we found online we were able to find books that mentioned the Toot-A-Loop. The information we found per book was different, in the first book, Twentieth-century ornament by Jonathan Michael Woodham, the Toot-A-Loop was used as an example to show something about the Japanese design of the 1960s/1970s further then that there was no information about the Toot-A-Loop itself. In the second book we found, Radio Zeit by Isabel Brass, there was more information about the radio, but nothing we hadn’t read before.

That was something that surprised us, because books carry this magic trustworthiness with them, you should be able to find everything that you want to know in a book, at least that’s what we thought.

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It’s strange that there is only limited information about such a popular radio on the internet and in the books. Maybe we should use our imagination to answers the remaining questions.

With this in our minds we started to think about other purposes the Toot-A-Loop could have had, the Toot-A-Loop was designed to put around your wrist, so it could also be a kind of jewelry. We found out that Marc Jacobs probably got inspired by the Toot-A-Loop. Our imagination helped us already a bit, we are curious what you will find!

Where is the Tradition?


Thursday, May 9, 2013


Choosing a book using the three words from the previous post was a tricky task, whenever I thought I had found a suitable solution, it failed on one of the criteria. This time I had to take more care and consideration in looking at every book individually. But as one of my key words was ‘small’ I started looking only at small books, but with no luck, so I decided to jump to the other end of the spectrum and only look at the oversized books.

Then I came across a book on Japanese prints. Japanese art is something that I have always for interesting but I know very little about it. The traditions are so different to those of the western world that I find a lot of it very hard to access. This book fails in all the areas the last book succeeded, It is made from this horrible shiny card which is almost sticky to the touch. It is bound just like 99% of the other books, it all looks a bit cheap in the end. But the one area where it is successful, unlike the previous book, is the content. The collection of prints are really intriguing, mostly black and white. Also included in the book is a lot of Chinese calligraphy, which obviously is very unclear for me, but nonetheless it as a certain elegance that is unique to the Asian aesthetic. But I can’t help but think that this book would be so much more successful had it been bound with the Japanese traditions, it would just make sense.

Rietveld Library cat.nr: 1058

Inside the egg


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I was searching for gold.

1988, the year before I was born.

I was searching for something that I could take a look at, pick up and say

“Yes, here is it. I’ve found it.”

Something to put on a shelf, inside of glass, something to be fragile and beautiful.
Or maybe heavy and beautiful at the same time. Like rococo is heavy. Or baroque.
Heavy beauty, when something is meant to be admired.
Money and gold. This thing with power.

When I was 8 years old my mother and my grandmother took me to see the exhibition of the famous Russian Fabergé eggs.
This exhibition got stuck in my memory somehow.

I remember the big rooms.
I remember the whiteness of the walls.
I remember the small glass cages where the most delicate, fragile things were put.
I remember my grandmother, my mother and me getting lost in the whiteness and all the beauty.
Like small animals in a bigger picture, circling around.

Then there were the eggs.
They were made of gold, silver, glass and something that almost seemed like air.
They were magical and impossible to touch.

Maybe it is also about this fascination with the exotic.
Beautiful creations, very far away from my reality.
This idea of something up there in the sky, out of reach.

Lately I have developed this fascination with Japan.
I don’t know what started it, maybe it was my friend who is obsessed with Japan.
Maybe it was just to have a fantasy about something.
I think about their delicate manners. I think about their delicate objects.
I see their patterns in design and art and I don’t understand them but I like it.
I look at Hentai porn, anime and all these crazy comic live shows and I am fascinated.

It is this idea of something, of a country, a people.
I construct it in my head.

I feel somehow that it is the same distance from me to Japan as from the jewelry eggs of Fabergé to me through those glass boxes where they were kept.

Rietveld Library cat.nr:

Fascinatie


Thursday, March 26, 2009


Hij staat er niet bij, wel zijn er heel veel boeken over Japans Design. Ik keek in alle boeken. In alle verschillende boeken stonden goeie overzichten van wat er allemaal uit Japan komt. Het begon meestal bij traditionele Japanse kunst wat langzaam overloopt in design. Het is een overgang van mensen die eerst voor zichzelf iets maakte wat later veranderd in mensen die allemaal onder één naam product maken. In het boek Japans Design zie je deze overgang heel goed weergegeven. Het is super om te zien hoe veel er wel niet in Japan wordt geproduceerd. Japan is zover weg en we hebben hier zoveel uit dat land en dat is wat mij fascineert.

cat.no. 772.5-spa-1

keyword: beeld


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