One of the best examples of a stereo system that married truly stunning design and hi-res sound was Brionvega’s Totem. Designed by Mario Bellini in 1971, the Totem quickly became famous for its modern, modular design and stunning sound quality. More than 50 years later, Brionvega has reissued an updated Totem to celebrate its legacy.

The Brionvega RR231 Totem Stereo System is a special 2021 re-edition of Italian architect and designer Mario Bellini’s sound system innovation, intended for use in domestic settings. When closed, the system is cube-shaped, representing the pure and abstract form of music. Opening the cube reveals its “wings” (speakers that can be oriented or separated from the base), a turntable, AM/FM radio and control console. New features include updated speakers and a USB output jack.

Each system is numbered with the designer’s signature. The original system, designed in 1970, is in MoMA’s collection and was featured in the Museum’s 2006 exhibition Artist’s Choice: Herzog & De Meuron, Perception Restrained.

Features of the Brionvega RR231 Totem Stereo System include:

  • Each speaker is equipped with a reflex-loading woofer, a mid-woofer and a tweeter
  • Speaker wings can be left open on the cube or removed and placed elsewhere in the room—either way, they provide ideal sound quality in medium to large rooms
  • 2 RCA audio inputs for external sound sources
  • 1 RCA output jack for connection to an external amplification system
  • 1 additional RCA output jack for connection to an external subwoofer
  • 1 USB 5v output (max 500mA)
  • Cabinet is made of hand-lacquered PDF wood
  • Made in Italy
  • The designer, Mario Bellini, has work in MoMA’s collection
  • Measures 20.5h x 20w x 20”d

Regardless of whether you’re an audiophile or not, the Totem stereo system embodies minimalist and modern design at its finest without compromising on audio quality. For those willing to pay the rather hefty price tag to own one of these, you can buy one on the MoMa Design Store’s website for around £17,800.

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