Russian, 1900 - 1996
Ekco Works, E.K. Cole, Ltd., London, manufacturer
Model AC74C radio,
H. 15 7/8 x W. 15 3/4 x D. 11 in.
Although Serge Chermayeff was sent from Russia to an English school at age ten, as architect, designer and painter, he was largely self-taught. In 1933 he went into practice with the architect Erich Mendelsohn (1931-34) and it was during this period that he began designing tubular-steel chairs as well as the highly successful Ekco radio cabinets. The model AC747 is one of the most advanced designs produced by the company. Among those émigré designers working in England at the time, Chermayeff was perhaps the country’s most energetic representative of the modern movement, later playing a key role in bringing Modernism to this country. As a new synthetic material, Bakelite was enthusiastically embraced by these designers closely allied with the machine aesthetic. The manufacturers were hopeful Bakelite’s deep rich color would suggest an exotic wood such as ebony to an otherwise skittish buyer.