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2013/127/1 Radio, RT20, steel / timber / electronic components / plastic, designed by Dieter Rams, made by Braun, West Germany, 1963. Click to enlarge.

Braun RT20 radio designed by Dieter Rams

The Braun RT20 was designed by Dieter Rams and manufactured from 1961- 64. The arrangement of elements, treatment of material and assembly of the RT20 illustrate Dieter's design philosophy, demonstrating intuitive controls, a restrained use of materials and simple forms.

German designer and "product architect" Dieter Rams' work from the late 1950s through the 1980s is widely influential. Dieter's design principles are also adhered to by Apple's present (2013) Senior Vice President of Design …


Object No.


Object Statement

Radio, RT20, steel / timber / electronic components / plastic, designed by Dieter Rams, made by Braun, West Germany, 1963

Physical Description

Radio housed in a beechwood veneer box, which tapers in slightly at the top to create a wedge shape. It has a white powder coated steel front with tapered grey/green knobs arranged in a row down the centre front and in a second row along the bottom right. The speaker is positioned on the centre left side and is concealed behind a circular shaped piercing in the lacquered steel front sheet. The radio stands on two long strips of felt at each end of the base.


Maker's name, model number, and instructional phrases are printed on the back including 'Braun RT 20'.A blue paper label, stuck onto the back reads '...Radio Freund/ koln-Braunsfeld...'



260 mm


500 mm


195 mm


8 kg



Designed by Dieter Rams, and manufactured by Braun AG in West Germany in 1963.

The front of the radio tapers inward, to both improve the legibility of the controls, and pitch the sound from the single speaker further into the room.



In the early 1960s West Germany was emerging from the isolation of the post-war period, and beginning to look to the United States as an export market. Initially led by the German car market, manufacturers like Braun recognised the potential. Braun had been founded in 1921 by an engineer, Max Braun, who had invented a revolutionary electrical shaver. He died in 1951, and the company was taken over by his two sons, Artur and Erwin, who "transformed it into a model company complete with a health service, sports facilities and health food restaurants for employees." They also wanted to develop an expanded range of products, which would be stylish and better. They hired Hans Gugelot, a leading design teacher, and later, in 1955, Dieter Rams. Rams who had graduated in architecture and design in 1953 followed the form-follows-function methodology of the pre-war Bauhaus style, and "he created products that were simple to use, honest in their use of materials and stripped of all visual clutter."

The catalogue entry on-line at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London says:" Designs by Dieter Rams were always extremely functionalist but they also relied on a sense of intuition from their users, which softened and humanized them. His work continues to exert a strong influence on contemporary product designers including Jasper Morrison, Industrial Facility and Jonathan Ive at Apple Inc."

Taken in part from Icon Magazine, February 2004. Marcus Fairs.


Credit Line

Purchased 2013

Acquisition Date

26 November 2013

Cite this Object


Braun RT20 radio designed by Dieter Rams 2022, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 November 2022, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Braun RT20 radio designed by Dieter Rams |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=27 November 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}